Jalen Rose, who spent 13 years in the NBA and played for six different organisations, believes all “great scorers” get accused of taking too many shots.
Harden who is currently on 31 straight games of scoring at least at least 30 points, had found himself coming under criticism from fans and former players for his style of play.
The 29-year-old defended his high number of shooting attempt and isolation playing style as a necessary means because of the injuries the Houston Rockets have sustained this campaign.
Speaking to ESPN Harden claims it was “something that I just had to do because of our situation”.
And Rose has also defended the Rockets use of Harden.
“There were times in Michael Jordan’s career, Kobe Bryant’s career, where people felt that they shot too much or accused them of being ‘ball hogs’,” Rose said.
“Same for Carmelo Anthony, all great scorers get accused of this.
“Now for James, a guy that has helped to lead the Rockets to one of the better teams in the West, before Chris Paul arrived, he’s the reigning MVP.
“He understands that he can’t be taking 40 shots a game and scoring 300 points that are unassisted and they are going to advance in the playoffs.”
Rose insists Harden has been the only “constant” in their revolving door at their medical facility, which has only recently seen Chris Paul return from an issue with his hamstring, along with Eric Gordon returning from a knee injury.
Rockets Clint Cappella is still on the injury list, following a problem with his thumb, but it’s hopeful the big man will return for the Rockets next game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Harden is averaging 41.5 points on 27.3 field goal attempts a game during his current streak, but Rose argues it’s “a necessary evil” for Houston to make the post season.
“For James, just look at it like this, the regular season is just that,” Rose said.
“The post season is a different style.
“You can’t iso-ball freely, very often, because defences can go boxes and elbows, forcing you to be perimeter-oriented.
“And every time you miss, they are going to get the rebound because they are on the inside.
“He understands that can’t carry to the playoffs.
“But right, now he needs to do what he needs to do, in order to validate playoff position.”
Houston are currently in the playoff places as they sit fifth in the Western Conference with a 33-24 record and Rose claims Harden understand his style of play is only a means to an end of securing the Rockets make the playoffs.
“They are going to need him to score buckets, in order to maintain in that style, to secure a Western Conference playoff place,” Rose said.
“I hate that he has to apologise for being a prolific scorer.”