Even before the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden, much to the surprise of almost everyone, there were questions about whether or not Harden could be “the guy”, wherever his career took him.
Sure, Harden has become a young star in the NBA, but that was in a supporting role with one of the best teams in the league. He was the Sixth Man of the Year last year. But could that success in such a role translate to the same success when Harden eventually took on a role as a No.1 guy?
That was the question that many were asking themselves when Harden was dealt to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster deal. After they were unable to agree to a contract extension, Harden was sent to Houston and has since agreed to a max contract with the Rockets.
In his Rockets debut on Wednesday night, Harden may have already proven that he has the chops to be a no. 1 guy, now free of the shadow of the likes of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City.
Harden went off in his Rockets debut, to the tune of 37 points and 12 assists. His point total fell just short of his career high and his 12 dimes were a career-best. He helped to key the Rockets’ comeback with his hot shooting, particularly from beyond the arc. He finished with 56 percent shooting for the night, leading everyone in minutes, with 44.
It’s obviously just one game, with 81 more to go in the regular season, but the Rockets already look to have made a brilliant move with their acquisition of James Harden. It will be interesting to see how teams prepare for Harden moving forward, but a few more performances like this and his star will be shining bright with his new team very soon.