James Harden has received widespread criticism this season with his lack of effort on defense. Harden has a habit of gambling for steals and doesn't play with much urgency as he's assigned to carry a huge load offensively for the Houston Rockets.

"There's no in-between with him," Kelvin Sampson says of Harden's defense. "He's either really good or he's not there. He sometimes has slacked off as he adjusts to being a no. 1 option on offense, but being a no. 1 option comes with responsibilities on the other end."

The pace the Rockets play on offense is also exhausting.

"Our guards just have a hard time being two people in our system — really good offensively, and really good defensively," Sampson said.