1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

[ESPN Insider] James Harden's Rising Star Power

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by senter, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. senter

    senter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    73
    A cool little piece with a lot of stats on Harden. Nothing new or groundbreaking but it's cool to have it all put into perspective. It's from the fantasy basketball section on ESPN

    P.S. In the past I've made a few requests for insider articles and was fortunate enough to have awesome members post the stories. Well, I got ESPN insider for myself now so if anyone posts a request thread I'll gladly provide the article. Just FYI :grin:

    Let's get hypothetical for a second. Your team is down by one point with 15 seconds to play in a decisive Game 7. The home crowd sits nervously in stunned silence. As the coach, you call a timeout and draw up a play to get the ball in the hands of the one player who can hit the game-winning shot.

    If you could choose any current player, who would it be?

    Do you turn to Kobe Bryant? Or do you get the ball in the hands of LeBron James? Is Kevin Durant your guy? And what about Carmelo Anthony? A strong argument could be made for each of them. Now, pretend for a second that none of those guys are available. Who then would you depend on with the game on the line?

    As hard as it might have been to believe a year or two ago, there may not be a better answer to that question than James Harden (no, we didn't forget about Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce). The point is, this should illustrate just how good Harden's been in his first season with the Houston Rockets.

    Earlier this season, Trendwatch pointed out that Harden's transformation into a "go-to" guy followed his trend of constantly attacking, which has allowed him to get to the free throw line, a trademark of any player whose team relies on him to produce a bulk of the scoring.

    But it isn't like Harden came out of nowhere. He was regarded highly enough to be drafted No. 3 overall in 2009 and went on to become one of the game's best reserves during his highlight-filled tenure in Oklahoma City.

    What's shocking, though, is the rapid manner in which he transformed from a player who started just seven games in three seasons with the Thunder into one of the game's brightest young stars with the Rockets.

    Because make no mistake, that's just what he's become -- a star.

    This goes well beyond the hot start Harden had in his opening two games with Houston, when he followed up his 37-point performance in the season opener with a dazzling 45-point effort. As impressive as that was, it was fairly easy to dismiss as a temporary hot streak. The general assumption at the time was that the league would eventually adjust and create defenses that would slow Harden down.

    Yet he hasn't slowed down, not even a little.

    He went on to average 23.6 points per game in November, topped that with 27.7 points per game in December and is averaging 26.0 points per game for the season, which ranks fifth in the league behind Durant (29.1), Anthony (28.7), Bryant (27.4) and James (26.9).

    And he's been on fire of late. Consider his averages over the past three contests: 33.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting 63.5 percent (33-of-52) from the field and 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from 3-point range.

    As you can see, this clearly goes beyond a short-term trend. What Harden has proved over the first half of the season is that he's undeniably one of the most unstoppable players in the NBA and a rising star whom the Rockets can build around for years to come.

    Here are three areas in particular that make the 23-year-old such a promising part of Houston's future:

    Versatility

    Harden's 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame is ideal for an NBA shooting guard, and he uses it to his advantage whenever he's on the court. What's impressive is the way he impacts the game in so many ways other than scoring. He's great at creating off the dribble and is a willing passer (5.7 assists per game). He's big and athletic enough to battle for boards (4.7 rebounds per game). And he's so quick and rangy on defense that it often translates to steals and high-percentage fast-break opportunities. Harden ranks No. 20 in the league in steals per 48 minutes (2.34). Plus he's more than a player who can score with the best of them; even at this early stage in his career, he's a player who can positively impact the game on both ends of the court.

    Getting to the foul line

    Few players in the game are as committed and polished at driving to the basket and attacking the rim as Harden. The former Arizona State star's strength and aggressive style put the defense on its heels, often resulting in trips to the free throw line. In fact, if you look at the free throw numbers in the NBA this season, Harden's jump off the page.

    Entering Monday, he has attempted a league-leading 510 free throws. That puts him 45 ahead of second-place Kevin Durant (465). More impressive is that only five other players have even attempted more than 300 free throws this season -- Dwight Howard (411), Bryant (374), Russell Westbrook (336), James (312) and Anthony (302). Harden is attempting a league-best 10.0 free throws per game and shooting 85.5 percent from the line, giving Houston a big advantage in the final minutes of close contests.
    Transition game

    Harden's aggressiveness, quickness and ability to handle the ball and finish at the rim make him an absolute dream in transition. According to Synergy Sports Technology, he averages 1.318 points per play in transition, which puts him in the 83rd percentile. (The only surprise there is that he isn't ranked even higher than that.) When Harden isn't leading the break, he likes to set up on the right wing, and from there he's particularly lethal; Synergy shows that his 1.698 points per play when operating from the right wing in transition ranks No. 6 in the league.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. tmacfor35

    tmacfor35 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    18,838
    Likes Received:
    7,119
    Guy is a superstar. A better version of Ginobli who has not reached his peak.
     
  3. GanjaRocket

    GanjaRocket Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Messages:
    3,557
    Likes Received:
    104
    the black ginobili


    a ginobili-lebron
     
  4. tmacfor35

    tmacfor35 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    18,838
    Likes Received:
    7,119
    He kind of is a mini-Lebron to a since. You could only imagine a team revolved around Harden/Howard as a title contender for years to come. We match up well with Dwight because our team is young and they obviously have fun playing together.

    All the chances Asik gets to score off dump off passes etc, will be going to Howard. Easy 20+ points per game.

    Lin
    Harden
    Parsons
    Patterson
    Howard

    What would make this team so good is having Asik off the bench to anchor our second unit defensively. You add one more player who can create for themselves off the bench, and your team is immediately competing with OKC for the WCF berth.
     
  5. KingStevo10

    KingStevo10 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,400
    Likes Received:
    147
    Each games he reminds me more and more of the LeBron-esque nba shooting guard
     
  6. J Sizzle

    J Sizzle Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    41,203
    Likes Received:
    24,341
    The more he focuses on his assists and his rebounding like he's been doing as of late...the more the "mini-Lebron" comparison sounds about right.
     
  7. Type Raba

    Type Raba Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    6
  8. senter

    senter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    73
    Well, I don't want to derail this thread, but ah what the heck. It feels good to be able to contribute haha

    Houston Rockets backup center Greg Smith averaged 4.4 points and 1.6 rebounds the last five games and the team decided on Sunday to send him to their D-League team, the Rio Grande Vipers, for three games to help him "recharge> his batteries.

    “He was doing stuff that was odd for Greg. He was one-handing rebounds, wasn’t sprinting the court," head coach Kevin McHale tells the Houston Chronicle. "I said, ‘Greg, those are things that are not you. You have to go up with two hands. You’re activity level has to pick up.’ That’s one reason I sent him down. I talked to him about it every day for a week as far as energy level. It seems right now it may be a good chance to go down there. We always use our D-League with our young guys. He seemed like a perfect candidate to go there and hopefully get the battery re-charged.”

    The move makes sense as Cole Aldrich is now the first center off the bench behind starter Omer Asik.

    “Cole’s played with energy,” said McHale.

    This should be an interesting week for the Vipers as Royce White is expected to join them on Monday, too. White, Smith and and Terrence Jones should all see game action, which will allow the Rockets to checkout their young big men.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Sydeffect

    Sydeffect Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    5,874
    Likes Received:
    379
    I'm still reluctant to give him the superstar tag. He is one of the best offensive players in the game, but is a terrible defender. IMO superstars have to be great on both ends.
     
  10. Type Raba

    Type Raba Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    6
    yeah i know its OT but Thanks! isnt smith a new dad? explains things...
     
  11. rocketjunkie

    rocketjunkie Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Messages:
    935
    Likes Received:
    235
    Kobe's defense is now crap. Neither Durante nor Anthony are setting the world on fire with defense. Those guys are superstars. At least Harden gets steals.
     
  12. Classic

    Classic Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    6,098
    Likes Received:
    597
    Good time to be a Rockets fan. This guy is amazing. We're one solid defensive presence at the 4/5 from developing into a contender in the next couple years. Asik is good but we need an OT/Horry type at the 4 to make up for the blow bys...that will mask the defense.
     
  13. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Messages:
    32,808
    Likes Received:
    7,974
    No link or even a mention of who wrote the article. Bad form, OP.
     
  14. senter

    senter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    73
  15. 713

    713 Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5,821
    Likes Received:
    923
    Tweeted this to Lebron :)
     
  16. Rocket Freak

    Rocket Freak Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 1999
    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    141
  17. Daedalus

    Daedalus Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,224
    Likes Received:
    103
    LeManu Harden
     
  18. moose

    moose Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,678
    Likes Received:
    63
    Dude is averaging 25, 5, and 5. Kind of scares you to imagine what his peak is going to be.
     
  19. pbnfamilia

    pbnfamilia Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    46
Loading...

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now