DAR Sports: Player Profile- James Harden

Intro By @TrueGodImmortal
-The Houston Rockets have a star player. No, not Dwight Howard, I'm talking about James Harden. Outside of his Kardashians debacle, Harden has worked his way to being one of the premier players in the league. Last year, he was a front runner for MVP, this year he's struggling to keep the Rockets in playoff contention. Today, the team talks James Harden.

I've watched James Harden since he was at Arizona State and it was interesting to see how his career developed over the years. A lottery pick in the NBA draft and came on with the Thunder who was already had some future NBA All-Stars at the time. Watching Harden I figured he would be that guy who would complete an essential “Big 3” if his game develops right. Pretty much his role with Oklahoma City was more of the 6th man to provide scoring off the bench which was something I wasn’t mad at. Starting a better defensive player in Thabo Sefolosha was understandable, but after a while I never understood why Harden wouldn’t crack the starting lineup in OKC. His role was just simply the 6th man to provide scoring off the bench. So fast forward to the beginning of the 2012-13 season when the Thunder traded Harden to the Rockets. This was Harden’s chance to be THE guy and have his own team in Houston. I think in Houston, Harden showed his potential to be the guy there. Let’s be honest, we all knew he had potential to be a star but it took the right situation for that to really come out and I have to say it really did. Multiple All-Star appearances and runner up to the NBA MVP Award not to mention making NBA 1st All-Team is showing it.

I think the one thing that bugs me when it comes to Harden is that until Houston really gets their act together and until he learns to play defense, I don’t think his play will get to that next level. He has time to get that together and the Houston thing is out of his hand, but for now I have to sit here and wonder, What If Oklahoma City didn’t trade him. All in All, Harden is one hell of a player and has star written all over him, but he has some ways to go before he takes that next level.

James Harden is a premier player in the league. He’s demonstrated to his teammates, coaches, and the league that he can perform on an elite level when he plays. He’s a nightmare for defenses on one-on-one matchups in the league because he’s a versatile scorer. He can score however he wants to. Off-the-dribble, fast-break, and when he drives to the rim. His versatility contributes to the reason why he’s a consistent scorer that can put up anywhere from 25-40 points on any given night. His step-back jumper is deadly and is my favorite version of it in the league today.

Also, he’s known for his spin moves to the rim and euro-steps. Don’t forget he can also throw down some vicious Kodak moment dunks. He’s known for his drives to the rim because they are both crafty and frustrating. It’s a pleasure to see when he scores over seven footers on his way to the rim, but he has a controversial presence when it comes to him drawing fouls. He’s a fluid shooter who is above eighty percent at the free-throw line. He’s gained scrutiny from coaches and fans for his ability to draw fouls that seem questionable. I’ve had my fair share of being upset he’s shooting free throws after gaining little to no contact on a drive.

There may be times he struggles through three quarters, but he knows when to deliver in the fourth quarter. He’s not one dimensional either. He’s able to incorporate his teammates and he did that in the 2015 playoffs. He can be a triple double magnet with efficient rebounding at his size. Since he knows he’ll get double teamed on the drive, he can kick it out to his teammates for wide open three-pointers or mid range shots.

He was known for his mediocre defense as people wondered why can a player be so dominant on offense, but terrible on defense. He’s stepped up on that since 2014 and hasn’t slipped since. His jump shot is very quick and if you had the chance to defend him, keep your ankles firm and hand up. He has great handles even though he doesn’t always cross people up because the separation he receives is what’s important. Last but not least, his late game scoring is also a plus. He’s a clutch shooter and I would like to have the ball in his hands on the final shot.

Outro by @TrueGodImmortal
-One perspective says Harden is elite, the other says he's got some work to do. Which is accurate? That's for you to decide. In the meantime, let's hope he can get the Rockets into the playoffs. If not, then maybe he isn't elite after all. Time will tell.



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