2015-16 was a strange year for James Harden. Statistically, he was one of the best players in the NBA. But with the Rockets limping to the eighth seed amid an early-season coaching change and reports of tension between him and Dwight Howard, the narrative turned against him, a year after he was the MVP runner-up. One person who doesn’t appreciate the way Harden has been discussed over the past year is his former Oklahoma City teammate, Kevin Durant. Speaking to reporters before a Team USA showcase in Houston, Durant criticized media members who didn’t vote Harden onto one of the three All-NBA teams.
The decision to leave Harden off the All-NBA teams was controversial and defensible either way. The perception that Harden and other Rockets players quit on the season and didn’t want to be there by the time the playoffs rolled around certainly played into it, as did criticisms that Harden showed up to training camp out of shape. But his numbers are difficult to argue with, and he’s still one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NBA. He recently inked a four-year extension in Houston, so there will be plenty of spotlight on him going forward.