Remember when James Harden had supposedly vastly improved his defense last season? Which is to say, the Houston Rockets guard went from terrible to not-quite-as-terrible?

Yeah, those days appear to be over. Except that now, Harden seems to have gone from “terrible” to “thoroughly apathetic.”

The latest example arrived on Monday, in a game against the Pistons. In a sequence memorable for all the wrong reasons, Harden committed a turnover, did nothing to slow the ball in transition, and then did even less to prevent an easy offensive rebound and put-back for Detroit’s Aron Baynes.

This came just one night after an arguably even more ludicrous play in a Rockets-Knicks game. Harden seemed far more interested in objecting to a non-call than in actually getting between New York’s Lance Thomas and an uncontested dunk.

Then there was this gem from earlier in November.

In fairness, Harden does occasionally appear to try on defense. And, of course, other parts of his game remain very effective.

Harden is hardly the only one to blame for the Rockets’ 7-11 record. It’s just that, too often, there’s no defense for his defense.