James Harden was the subject of almost every headline leading up to the 2012-2013 NBA season. After he was traded to the Houston Rockets from the Oklahoma City Thunder, it’s all that any of the talking heads could talk about. How would the trade help Houston? How would the Thunder deal with the loss? All of these questions were being endlessly explored and answered.
However, as we are creeping towards the start of the 2013-2014 NBA season, it’s one of Harden’s teammates, a recent signing, that everyone seems to be talking about. Of course, that teammate is All-Star center Dwight Howard.
Everyone is entranced by Howard and his move to Houston. Not only is it curious that this is his third team in as many seasons, but people also are wondering how he will mesh with the Rockets team and whether or not he can mentally buckle down and get committed to basketball.
One of the things that is seemingly being overlooked, though, is how the addition of Howard will affect Harden. After all, Harden established himself as a star last season while he averaged 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 38.3 minutes per game. After a season like that, you have to wonder how adding another All-Star caliber player is going to affect Harden.
Though Howard may take away some of Harden’s touches, he could help with Harden’s efficiency. Harden was incredibly productive, but he only shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from three. A lot of that inefficiency was due to the fact that Harden often had to create his shot with very little space and help. Howard will change that, though. He demands so much attention that opponents won’t be able to focus as narrowly on Harden.
Harden is already on the verge of becoming a superstar-type talent. However, Howard could help elevate his game to a higher and more efficient level. If everything goes right, I’m sure that’s exactly what the Rockets are hoping for.