3 reasons the Phoenix Suns should avoid James Harden at all costs.
3. James Harden is too old
We’re beginning by stating the obvious, but there is a wider point to be made about the fact Harden will be 34 by the time next season begins. The Suns already have in Durant a player who is better and more consistent in Harden, and who himself will be 35 when the 2023-24 campaign starts.
Durant is the ultimate plug in and play superstar, and we have seen this during his brief stint with the organization so far. But he is coming out the other end of his prime, and even Durant’s incredible powers didn’t allow him to join a really good team and go and win a championship at the first time of asking.
The Suns would benefit much more from giving Booker and Durant a full season to decide how best to work with one another. Point guard Chris Paul is 38-years-old, and despite defying Father Time for so long, looked old this year. There is no telling how much longer he has left with the Suns, but as long as he is on the team, this is a group that needs to get younger.
Paul is no longer an elite defender, and while Durant can be when he wants to, we’ve seen him carry Harden’s lack of defensive prowess in the past. DeAndre Ayton may be the youngster here relative to everybody else, but if Harden couldn’t make it work with the current league MVP in Joel Embiid, a two-man game with Harden and Ayton would most certainly be streaky.
The Suns are trying to extend their championship window right now, but the health concerns of Durant alone have that plan on shaky ground. We also have more than enough evidence to show us that Harden can go missing in big moments.
As a player who was at one point indestructible (Harden played less than 70 regular season games only once in his 10 years with the Rockets), all of those minutes on the court are beginning to catch up with him. Which is exactly what you would expect to happen, but not something the Suns should be willing to take on unless they’re certain it gets them over the hump. It doesn’t.