James Harden has taken the NBA by storm and has taken the red-hot Houston Rockets from the 14th seed all the way to the 4thseed. Harden has recorded 35+ points and 5+ assists in 10 consecutive regular season games. During that stretch he recorded 40+ in 5 straight games including a high of 15 assists. James has achieved these averages by showing off his handles, driving by defenders, and of course by hitting step back three pointers. One of his most notable games during those games was when he scored 44 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds as he took down arguably one of the best teams of all time in the Golden State Warriors. As only seconds were left on the clock, Harden hit a step back three pointer over two great defenders in Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to win the game for the Rockets.
There is a lot that goes into a player of Harden’s caliber being able to succeed like this. One of the biggest moves that the Houston Rockets have made to make them a serious title contender is firing head coach Kevin McHale. After this, Mike D’Antoni took over all coaching operations for the Houston Rockets. D’Antoni understood James Harden very well so in his first season he gave him the role of the point guard. Harden had career year as he averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game. In the postseason, the Rockets had an impressive 4-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. They eventually lost a close series to Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs.
In the 2017-18 offseason, the Rockets made a huge trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers received Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, and a top three protected first-round pick as the Rockets received 9 time all star Chris Paul. This helped James Harden relieve some of the pressure of being the only all star on a championship roster. The Houston Rockets also signed spot up shooters in prior years such as Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza, and many more. An amazing fit into D’Antoni’s offense is how he uses center Clint Capela. In situations such as when James Harden drives by his defender and another defender plays help defense, then harden can throw an easy lob pass to Clint Capela for the score.
In the current NBA season Harden is having his second straight career year. James is averaging 34.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game on 43.7% shooting. Harden’s remarkable 34.2 points per game is putting his name in conversations with all time greats such as Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Harden came off a hamstring injury and is currently carrying an injured Rockets roster to a high seed in a stacked western conference. James has made a very convincing case for another MVP due to his high averages and where the Rockets are seed wise. Statistically, James Harden is the best player in the league and this season alone is making him a set in stone one of the best offensive players the league has ever seen.
“James Harden 2018-19 Game Log.” Basketball-Reference.com, http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hardeja01/gamelog/2019/.
Amick, Sam. “Clippers Agree to Trade Chris Paul to Rockets.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 28 June 2017, http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2017/06/28/chris-paul-rockets-clippers-agree-trade-star-point-guard/435563001/.