Watch: McHale responds to Harden calling him 'a clown'
Former Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale truly feels James Harden didn't demonstrate strong leadership intangibles in the three seasons they worked together, from 2012-15. And being called a "clown" by his former All-Star guard is simply dirt on the Basketball Hall of Famer's shoulder.
"You calling me names is not going to change my opinion as to what I saw when I was there," said McHale on Friday night during NBA on TNT. "It's hard to have a lot of credibility if you don't play good defense. It's hard to say, 'let's get stops,' when people are looking at you saying, 'please stay in front of somebody.'"
McHale did go on to praise Harden by calling him "a hell of a basketball player," who organizes his teammates during the offseason. His description of what a true leader is, though, involves someone who can rally the troops when a team is trailing late and the game becomes more about will than skill.
"That's not his (James') personality. Chris Paul, in turn, will get in your face, go nose-to-nose with you. Say, 'hey let's go,' and I think that's what you need," added McHale.
Harden finished as the runner-up in MVP voting last season for the 55-win Rockets, doing a complete 180-degree turn with his game by moving the rock more, ultimately leading the league in that department with 11.2 assists per game.