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Clippers newcomer James Harden: ‘I’m not a system player. I am a system’

The LA Clippers’ big-splash move to acquire star guard James Harden has pushed the franchise directly into the championship-or-bust expectations.

All that has also raised questions concerning Harden’s ability to fit into the mix alongside Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook to vie for an NBA title. The 10-time All-Star voiced that he believes he can excel in any offensive system because of his skill set.


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“I think the game and I’m a creator on the court,” Harden said via ESPN. “So if I got a voice to where I can, ‘Hey, Coach, I see this. What you think about this?’ Somebody that trusts me, that believes in me, that understands me. I’m not a system player. I am a system. You know what I mean?

“So somebody that can have that dialogue with me, understand, move forward, figure out and make adjustments on the fly throughout the course of games, that’s all I really care about. It’s not about me scoring a basketball, scoring 34 points. I’ve done that already.”

The Clippers will need Harden to play a significant offensive factor, but likely more so as a passer. He has shown the capability as an elite scorer, but LA has a plethora of scoring from their other three stars.


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Beyond that, Harden’s presence could displace Westbrook’s role within the offense. Westbrook has shown throughout his career that he has thrived with the ball in his hands, and his inability to be an effective shooter off the ball has hurt his offensive impact on the game.

That alone may require Harden to be an off-the-ball factor more so at times to allow Westbrook to be a playmaker. There are a lot of different factors at play, and only time will tell what will transpire.

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