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Shaquille O'neal.

Shaquille O'Neal tears into James Harden for his lack of leadership skills

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As one of the most dominant centers of his generation, and perhaps, all-time, Shaquille O'Neal has found adapting to life as a basketball pundit very easy.

The big man isn't afraid to call it how he sees it and on TNT's "Inside the NBA," Shaq is known for not mincing his words when it comes to the league today.

The latest player to feel Diesel's wrath is James Harden. Although the Houston Rockets man has been widely criticised for his lack of defensive instincts this season, the former four-time NBA champion, and now panelist, questioned another part of Harden's repertoire.

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Superman - another one of Shaq's long, long list of nicknames - outright questioned Harden's capabilities as a leader during half-time of the Rockets eventual 115-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

That leaves Houston trailing the series 0-2 heading into their back-to-back home games, but Shaq believes for all the talent at the franchises disposal, Harden is failing to guide them to their full potential.

“The problem with James Harden is he has no leadership skills,” Shaq said. “I know for a fact as the main player, when you come to play, others will follow. If you’re the leader of a team, you gotta do what you’re supposed to do. If you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, then others will not do anything.

"He doesn’t lead by example," Shaq continued. "There’s two types of leaders. The vocal leader get in people’s face like Draymond Green, and those who lead by example.”

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game One

O'Neal has played with some terrific leaders in his time and obviously knows the hallmarks of a great one. Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James all list as previous teammates for Shaq, and many might argue that the Hall of Famer was a leader himself.

Harden is an excellent offensive player, there is little question about that. The former Oklahoma City Thunder star finished the season second in the league for scoring with an average of 29 points a night.

The 26-year-old also dished out 7.5 assists a night during the regular season and managed 11 dimes during Game Two with the Warriors on Monday night.

But, does he display the tenacity and winning desire that a leader of the pack must have? Virtually all of Houston's attack runs through Harden and with that responsibility, comes great pressure.

Philadelphia 76ers v Houston Rockets

Although he has the offensive talents to be the leader, it appears as though there is a major problem with the Rockets gelling as a unit. Furthermore, it could be argued that the Rockets have the skill, but aren't galvanised or properly motivated.

Is this really down to how Harden carries himself? Or does it fall on the coach to organise his players and set out the game plan?

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Topics:
NBA
Western Conference
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
James Harden

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