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NBA Houston Rockets

5 Ways Houston Rockets’ James Harden Can Improve His Game

5 Ways Houston Rockets' James Harden Can Improve His Game

James Harden
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden has become one of the premier players to watch in the NBA. His awkward lefty style of play, partnered with his appropriately large beard, has made him a fan favorite. As he approaches the upcoming season, he must find ways to step up his level of play that will please fans and teammates alike. Here are five ways Harden can improve his game. Let's take a look.

5. Leadership

James Harden
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

5. Leadership

James Harden
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Since leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder and his sixth man role, Harden has become the face of the Rockets' organization. As the saying goes, with great power (or bigger role with more money) comes great responsibility, and he is now responsible for leading his team. If Harden can own up to his responsibilities on and off the court for USA basketball and the Rockets, he will be a better leader.

4. Mid-Range Game

James Harden2
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

4. Mid-Range Game

James Harden2 Copy
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Harden is really good at getting to the rim and loves shooting it from anywhere, and I do mean anywhere, from behind the arc. His mid-range game continues to suffer as it always has. He must make it a point to do more of his scoring in-between his favorite spots. The FIBA World Cup will be a great place to start.

3. Shot Selection

James Harden3
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

3. Shot Selection

James Harden3 Copy
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

As one of the best scorers in the game, Harden has never met a shot he didn't like. It can be hard for a player like him to decipher what is a good shot and what isn't, when he has the green light to shoot at anytime. Harden's trigger happy attitude needs to be tinkered with. Playing under Coach Krzyzewski and USA basketball may force Harden to see his offensive game in a different light.

2. Attitude

James Harden4
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2. Attitude

James Harden4 Copy
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Harden is still a fairly young (24 years old) player in the league and that lack of maturity can get to him sometimes. Harden has appeared to let his emotions get the best of his when things don't go quite as he would like, which can change the momentum of the game. Harden can use his summer basketball experience, coupled with his close relationships, with more veteran players to grasp a mindset beyond his years.

1. Defense

Kevin Durant
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

1. Defense

Kevin Durant Copy
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest knock on Harden is his lack of defensive prowess, but he's is a capable defender when he wants to be. It doesn't seem like defense is at the top of the list to him, so he can be labeled a bad defender. If he can commit to guarding the best player that he shares a court with, he can prove his defensive abilities and grow as a lock down defender.