By Matt Hammond, Sports Radio 610By Matt Hammond

Bruce Bowen knows a thing or two about defense.

In the case of James Harden’s defense, known by, well, everyone as being categorically awful, it’s not that the eight-time NBA All-Defensive first or second teamer thinks it’s better than advertised.

Bowen just thinks it’s not Harden’s fault.

Blame, Bowen says, rests on the Houston Rockets and head coach Kevin McHale.

Said Bowen, to the San Antonio Express-News:

“I remember (Harden) in OKC. In fairness to James, yes, (his defense) has been terrible, but what are the principles in Houston? I’m very disappointed in their team concept. That’s what I don’t see. So, if there are no rules and regulations, how do you hold anyone accountable? Speaking to James about this, he’ll say it — “I know I have to do a better job.” But without any direction, without a coach saying, hey, we’re going to send this player baseline because that will be our best bet, it’s really tough.”

Fair points. Kind of.

A lot of playing good defense in the NBA is about, as Bowen said, playing good team basketball, something that the Rockets don’t exactly do. (Though it’s also worth noting, part of the reason for their highly fractured, individualized style is, frankly, a function of the way Harden plays — on both ends.) But a lot of it just comes down to athleticism and effort. Harden clearly has the former, and clearly has the latter when he’s playing for Mike Krzyzewski and Team USA.

Whether he has it when playing for Team Rockets? Well, we’ll let you decide…

Hear Matt weekends on Sports Radio 610

Follow him on Twitter @MattHammondShow

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