Stand to the right. Stand to the left. Slap an arm now, ya’ll.
Thus goes the “James Harden Shuffle,” a defensive dance featuring minimal movement and maximal ball watching.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Harden Shuffle, YouTube user How U (h/t John Ferensen of NextImpulseSports.com) has created a lengthy instructional video breaking down the ins and outs of the Houston Rockets star while he slow waltzes about the hardwood.
Facing no shortage of material, How U managed to compile more than 11 minutes of Harden playing the kind of defense that would make a matador blush.
It’s a dance for all occasions, featuring moves such as the “Wraparound Slap-Around.”
Screenshots via YouTube
If his man moves outside the paint, Harden lets him go. He’s not about to make the hike out to the perimeter. That’s for suckers. His guy doesn’t have the ball, and you can’t score without the ball. That’s just basketball.
Unfortunately, Harden’s dance moves might be holding him back.
Indeed, an elite player with all the offensive skills in the world can still be his team’s worst enemy, especially when things get physical in the playoffs.
The Rockets face off against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday. Houston won three of four of their games against Portland this season but could be in for trouble if Harden brings his dancing shoes.
Keep an eye out for Harden’s signature wrap-around and his equally futile “Stand and Stare” technique. His opponents know his moves and will be looking to take full advantage in this critical stage.
Don’t be surprised if Harden throws out a shoulder trying to wrap up Damian Lillard.
Tweet me with your favorite Harden moves.