James Harden is not your average NBA superstar. He stands at 6’5”, weighing 200 lbs with a beard that covers nearly his entire face; Harden doesn’t really look like your run of the mill MVP candidate, either.
However, Harden is a superstar, and is among the leaders in the conversation for the 2012-13 Most Valuable Player award.
Harden was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets before the regular season in what was probably the most blockbusting move of the offseason. OKC was not going to succumb to the max-deal that Harden, who would have been a free agent at the end of this season, felt that he deserved, so the Thunder traded away a player who helped carry them to the NBA Finals last season.
Harden won the Sixth Man of the Year Award last season coming off the bench for the Thunder. This season, now that he has a starting role for the Rockets, the “Beard” has put up absolutely ridiculous numbers.
In his first game for Houston, Harden came out and dropped 45 points. Since then, he has scored 25+ points in 28 of his team’s 51 games (which is 54% of Houston’s games) so far. He is putting up 25.8 points a night and is dishing out 5.6 assists, and is the best player on a young Houston squad (including Jeremy Lin) that should be a contender in the next couple of years.
Harden has a different type of game than the league’s best players, too. He couples a silky, left-handed jump-shot with a devastating crossover and an array of euro-steps when he drives to the basket.
He looks different, plays different, and just is different than other superstars. Harden, however, is right there with the rest of the NBA’s elite MVP candidates, and is having a season that is bringing life back to Houston basketball.
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