James Harden
James Harden
30-Year-Old GuardG
Houston Rockets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The runner up for the 2018-19 Most Valuable Player award, Harden put together another dominant offensive campaign. En route to his sixth All-NBA selection, Harden averaged a league-high 36.1 points to go along with 7.5 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He also led the NBA in made threes (378) and free-throws (754), becoming the first player in NBA history to rack up at least 300 threes and 700 free-throws. Unsurprisingly, Harden's 40.5% usage rate ranked No. 1 as well, and it ranked second all-time behind only Russell Westbrook's 2016-17 campaign (41.7%). Ironically, those two are now teammates, as the Rockets traded Chris Paul to the Thunder to acquire Westbrook over the summer in what could end up being the highest-usage backcourt of all-time. While the pair figure to see as little time on the court together as realistically possible (considering that was the case with Harden and Paul), there will be some overlap. How much that overlap will impact Harden's stats is tough to gauge, but it seems likely that Westbrook will sacrifice more, as he's the one joining Harden's offense. Fantasy owners have a right to downgrade Harden slightly with Westbrook coming to town, but he's still worthy of being selected No. 1 overall in the vast majority of fantasy formats. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $169.34 million contract extension with the Rockets in July of 2017. Contract includes $46.87 million player option for 2022-23.
Personal Bio

James Harden was born in Los Angeles, California, to Monja Willis, whom he credits as the biggest influence in his life. He has three older siblings. Harden attended Artesia High School in Lakewood, California, where he led the team to a 33-2 record and a second consecutive state title as a senior. During that season, he averaged 18.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists and was named a McDonald's All-American. He also earned second-team Parade All-American honors. Harden won a gold medal as a member of Team USA during the 2012 Olympics in London and FIBA World Championship as a captain of Team USA during the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Harden founded 3TheHardenWay Inc. (https://www.3thehardenway.com/community), which "was established to provide higher learning opportunities for future leaders of our nation." The organization's mission is to bridge the "economic and educational gaps in the Houston Metropolitan Area by providing academic financial support to high achieving students demonstrating leadership within communities facing economic hardship." Harden also donated $1 million to aid Hurricane Harvey relief efforts after areas of Houston were devastated by flooding. In July of 2019, he became a part owner of Houston's professional soccer teams -- the Houston Dynamo of MLS and the Houston Dash of NWSL. Learn more about Harden by following him on Twitter (@JHarden13) and on Instagram (@jharden13).

College/International Summary

Harden attended Arizona State for two seasons under the tutelage of coach Herb Sendek. The 6-foot-5 guard quickly took control of the Sun Devils' offense and led the team in scoring as a freshman with 17.8 points per game. He added 5.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 steals. He was named to the All-Pac-10 First Team and the All-Freshman Team. Expectations were higher for his sophomore season, and Harden delivered. He put up 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists to win the Pac-10 Player of the Year award. The guard scored a career-high 40 points in a win over UTEP. The Sun Devils made it to the Big Dance, but Harden struggled in two games. He was just 3-for-18 from the field on his way to a combined 19 points. Following the 2008-09 season, Harden declared for the NBA Draft with two seasons of college eligibility remaining. He was chosen by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the third overall pick.

Regulars will play 'about a half'
GHouston Rockets
August 14, 2020
Coach Mike D'Antoni intimated that the Rockets regulars will only play "about a half" of Friday's game against the 76ers, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
ANALYSIS
Unsurprisingly, coach D'Antoni is looking to keep his key players fresh for the postseason, with the Rockets scheduled to play the Thunder. With Harden, and others, to see limited action Friday, Chris Clemons, Michael Frazier and other deep bench players should be in line for extended action.
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Past Season Summaries
2018

After winning the NBA MVP award in 2017-18, Harden provided a compelling encore in 2018-19. He averaged an NBA-leading 36.1 points per game to go along with 7.5 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He finished second in steals per game behind Paul George and his 36.1 points were the seventh-most all time and second-most since 1963-64. Harden set a new career high with 4.8 three-pointers made per game, leading the NBA in total threes (378) and finishing second to Stephen Curry in threes per game (5.1). Harden shot 36.8 percent from behind the arc, matching his second-best percentage since joining the Rockets. He got to the free-throw line for an NBA-leading 858 attempts, comfortably leading that category by 25 percent over the next player. His impressive performance led to a second place finish in MVP voting. Harden led the Rockets to a 53-29 record and a No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. After defeating the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs, the Rockets lost in six games to the rival Golden State Warriors. Harden averaged 31.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.2 steals during the postseason. Among the highlights of Harden's season was a 32-game streak of scoring at least 30 points -- the second-longest streak in NBA history and longest in the shot-clock era. During that stretch of games, he produced 41.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 5.7 threes.

2017

Harden took the NBA by storm during the 2017-2018 campaign. He led the league in scoring, averaging 30.4 points per game. He took the most free-throws (727) as well as the most three-pointers (722). Harden scored a career-high 60 points at Orlando on Jan. 30. He poured in at least 50 points on four different occasions. Harden also finished third in the NBA in dishing, handing out 8.8 assists per contest. Harden tallied four triple-doubles during the regular season. The Rockets finished the regular season with the best record in the league at 65-17. Harden averaged a 28.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals per contest during the playoffs. Harden was named First Team All-NBA for the second straight year and the fourth time in his NBA career. He won his first MVP award in a landslide over LeBron James.

2016

The 2016-17 season was transcendent for Harden as he continued to push his game to new heights. The 6-foot-5 guard played in 81 games for Houston and increased his production in nearly every offensive category. His scoring average of 29.1 points per game was a career high, as was his 8.1 rebounds per contest. Harden assumed point guard duties for the Rockets and not only established his best career mark with 11.2 assists per contest, he led the league in that category. He also ranked fourth by making 3.2 three-pointers per game. Harden led the NBA with 64 double-doubles and ranked second with 22 triple-doubles. He became the first player in NBA history to post a 50-15-15 stat line with an incredible 53-point, 16-rebound, 17-assist performance against the Knicks on New Year's Eve. He notched another 50-point triple-double Jan. 27, totaling 51 points, 13 boards and 13 dimes in a win over Philadelphia. Harden was recognized for his outstanding campaign with a selection to the Western Conference All-Star team, a spot on the All-NBA First Team and a second-place finish in MVP voting. The Rockets again qualified for the playoffs and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals. In 11 postseason contests, Harden averaged 28.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.9 steals.

2015

Firmly established as one of the league's best players, Harden refused to slow down for the 2015-16 season. He started each of Houston's 82 games and averaged 38.1 minutes per contest. For the second straight season, he established career per-game bests in points (29.0), rebounds (6.1) and assists (7.5). He finished the campaign ranked second in the league in scoring and sixth in dimes. Harden increased his three-point output for the seventh straight season, ranking fourth in the NBA with 2.9 treys per contest. He also continued to rack up steals, averaging 1.7 thefts per game. The Arizona State product totaled 23 double-doubles during the campaign, including three triple-doubles. One of those triple-doubles -- a loss to Detroit on Jan. 20 -- included 33 points, 14 assists and a career-high 17 boards. On March 23, Harden racked up a career-best eight steals while scoring 26 points and dishing 10 dimes against Utah. He scored 50 points in a win over Philadelphia on Nov. 27, adding nine rebounds and eight assists. Harden also played for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game for the fourth straight year. In the February contest, he scored 23 points and nailed seven three-pointers. Harden led the Rockets to the playoffs yet again, though they fell to Golden State in the first round. He averaged 26.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 2.4 steals in the five-game series.

2014

Harden continued to stake his claim as one of the league's superstars during the 2014-15 season. He played in 81 games for Houston and averaged 36.8 minutes per contest. His scoring output jumped to 27.4 points per game, a career high and the second-best mark in the league. Harden also registered career highs with 5.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists per contest. Defensively, he accomplished another career best with 1.9 steals per game, ranking sixth in the NBA. The 2009 lottery pick established yet another career mark with 2.6 made three-pointers per game to place fifth in the league. He was named to the Western Conference All-Star Team for the third straight season and poured in 29 points in the February competition. Harden also garnered his second straight selection to the All-NBA First Team. He scored a career-high 50 points against Denver on March 19, then topped that with a 51-point effort versus Sacramento two weeks later. Behind Harden's outstanding play, Houston advanced to the Western Conference Finals. The bearded guard played 17 total postseason games, posting per-game averages of 27.2 points, 5.7 boards, 7.5 assists and 1.6 steals.

2013

Harden followed his breakout 2012-13 campaign with another outstanding season in 2013-14. The Arizona State product started all 73 games in which he played for Houston, averaging 38.0 minutes per contest. He ranked fifth in the league with 25.4 points per game and shot 45.6 percent from the field. Harden averaged a career-best 6.1 assists and pulled down 4.7 rebounds per game. He continued to rank among the league's most lethal outside shooters, placing ninth in the NBA by making 2.4 three-pointers per contest. The 6-foot-5 guard also showed exceptional accuracy at the charity stripe, making a career-best 86.6 percent of his free throws. Harden registered his second career triple-double against Philadelphia on Mar. 27, totaling 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He scored a season-high 43 points in a win over the Kings on Feb. 25, draining 6-of-9 shots from beyond the arc. For his efforts, Harden was named to his second All-Star Game and garnered his first selection to the All-NBA First Team. He also helped lead Houston back to the playoffs, where they fell in a tough first-round series against Portland. In six playoff contests, Harden posted averages of 26.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.0 steals.

2012

Prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, OKC traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. The 6-foot-5 guard immediately slotted into Houston's starting five, where he remained for all 78 games in which he played during the campaign. The move helped Harden boost his output significantly as he averaged career per-game highs in points (25.9), rebounds (4.9), assists (5.8) and steals (1.8). He ranked as the league's fifth-leading scorer while making 2.3 three-pointers per contest, eighth-best in the league. Harden's outstanding season was recognized with a spot in the All-Star Game and a selection to the All-NBA Third Team. In the postseason, Harden averaged 26.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game in a first-round loss to his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

2011

Harden's third season with Oklahoma City included increased playing time and numerous career-best marks. He averaged 16.8 points per game and shot 49.1 percent from the field, both career highs. Harden also achieved the best marks of his career in rebounds (4.1) and assists (3.7) per contest. His three-point shooting continued to improve as he made 1.8 treys per game -- another career high -- and shot a career-best 39.0 percent from deep. Harden notched the first 40-point game of his career in a win over Phoenix on Apr. 18, adding seven boards, three dimes and four steals. With Harden functioning as an elite sixth-man, Oklahoma City advanced to the NBA Finals. Though they couldn't bring home the title, Harden did well in the postseason, averaging 16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists. For his regular-season achievements, he was named the Sixth Man of the Year.

2010

James Harden played in each of Oklahoma City's 82 contests during his sophomore campaign, making five starts. His playing time increased to 26.7 minutes per game. Harden averaged 12.2 points per contest on the season, making 43.6 percent of his field-goal attempts. He also averaged 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Harden continued to develop his outside game, draining 1.4 three-pointers per contest and shooting 34.9 percent from beyond the arc. In the postseason, Harden was a key part of the Thunder's rotation as the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 31.6 minutes in 17 playoff contests and posted per-game averages of 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals.

2009

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected James Harden with the third pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Arizona State product played in 76 games as a reserve during his rookie campaign, averaging 22.9 minutes per contest. Harden posted per-game averages of 9.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals. He also drilled 1.2 three-pointers per game while shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. Harden scored a season-high 26 points in a win over the Warriors on Dec. 7. He played in all six games of Oklahoma City's first-round playoff series against the Lakers, averaging 7.7 points over 20.0 minutes per post-season contest. Harden's overall performance was recognized with a selection to the All-Rookie Second Team.

2019
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Transaction History
  • June 25, 2009
    Drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 1st round (3rd pick) of the 2009 NBA Draft.
  • July 15, 2009
    Signed a rookie two-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • October 27, 2012
    Traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to the Houston Rockets for Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin, a 2013 1st-round draft pick, a 2013 2nd-round draft pick and a 2014 1st-round draft pick.
  • October 30, 2012
    Signed a five-year contract with the Houston Rockets.
  • July 9, 2016
    Signed a four-year contract with the Houston Rockets; extension of deal signed in 2012.
  • July 8, 2017
    Signed a four-year contract with the Houston Rockets.
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Yesterday
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
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2009
In an effort to craft a super team to matchup with the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets made a splash and traded for Chris Paul prior to the 2017-18 campaign. There were concerns that Paul's presence could hinder Harden's overall Fantasy value by forcing him to play off the ball, but Harden still wound up putting up monster numbers and was one of the top Fantasy options all year. As expected, his assists per game fell from 11.2 in 2016-17 to just 8.8, which was a direct result of Paul playing the facilitator. His rebounding also took a hit, but was still 5.4 boards per game, which is more than solid production for a guard. On the other hand, Harden took yet another step forward as a scorer, averaging a league-high 30.4 points per game, while also increasing his efficiency across the board to 44.9 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc, which also may have been a result of Paul's ability to take on defenders and create more open looks for Harden. In addition to his league-leading per game scoring, Harden finished fourth in assists and second behind only Steph Curry in three-pointers made (3.7). The only real downfall was that Harden did miss a handful of weeks due to a hamstring injury, which limited him to 72 total games and was the first time in three years that he missed more than just one contest. All of that production allowed Harden to pick up league MVP honors for the first time in his career, while he nabbed his sixth straight All-Star game appearance and was named All-NBA First Team for the fourth time. The Rockets' roster did change a bit this offseason. Most notably, Corey Brewer and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute departed. On the other hand, the Rockets brought in Carmelo Anthony, who adds yet another scorer to a team that loves to play at a quick pace and fire up shots. There's a belief that Anthony ends up coming off the bench, so he shouldn't really impact Harden's usage at all. As a result, look for Harden and Paul to run the show. The 28-year-old will be in contention for a top-5 pick once again and he'll be an elite source of points, assists, steals and three-pointers. He also gets to the line at will -- Harden averaged a whopping 10.1 free-throw attempts in 2017-18 -- so that will give him a fairly high floor on a night-to-night basis for scoring. The fact that he's averaged more than 4.0 turnovers in each of the last four seasons is something to keep in mind for leagues that are negatively impacted by that category, but his elite production elsewhere across the box score more than makes up for it and should put him into consideration for MVP honors once again.
Harden is coming off one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory. While teams across the league were resting star players to keep them fresh, Harden had no intention of sitting out and instead played in 81 of the 82 regular-season games. Nearly averaging a triple-double, Harden finished with 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game, while also picking up 1.5 steals on the defensive end. He finished second in the league in points and first in assists, while also posting personal bests in points, assists and rebounds for his career. His three-point shooting did tumble in terms of percentage, as he shot just 34.7 percent from deep, which was a career-low. However, he took a whopping 9.3 three-pointers per game and hit an average of 3.2, which still made him a fantastic source of threes. While in the past this sort of season would likely have made Harden a unanimous choice for league MVP honors, Russell Westbrook ended up taking that crown, as he completed the season long triple-double average. Still, Harden was invited to his fifth straight All-Star game, he picked up his third All-NBA First Team honors and was a finalist for league MVP alongside Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard. Looking forward to 2017-18, the Rockets could have an adjustment period early on. They made a big splash and traded for Chris Paul, who should immediately jump into the starting lineup at point guard and push Harden to shooting guard. Harden is likely to see his ball-handling responsibilities decline in response to adding another playmaker and that means his assists per game should take a hit. It could be tough for him to match his rebounding numbers as well, but don't expect Paul's presence to stop Harden from being one of the league's elite scorers. Harden is still going to demand the ball and be the team's go-to option, and his ability to get to the free-throw line (9.2 FTM per game) is a thing of beauty. If anything, Paul could help Harden get some more open looks with his elite passing ability, which could help Harden increase his shooting percentages overall. Coach Mike D'Antoni is planning on staggering the playing time of both Paul and Harden, hoping to have one of them on the floor at all times if possible. That should give Harden plenty of opportunities to be the lead guard despite starting at shooting guard, so his usage shouldn't be significantly hurt. That all being said, Harden is locked into a top-5 pick in almost any format. His turnovers continue to be a concern, as he averaged 5.7 in 2016-17, though his impressive ability to rack up multi-category stats elsewhere easily makes up for it. He's also missed a total of just two games over the last three years, so expect Harden to once again fight for league MVP honors, in addition to being one of the top Fantasy targets in the entire NBA.
While Harden’s 2015-16 campaign was generally considered a disappointment, his counting stats actually improved nearly across the board. Harden upped his scoring from 27.4 points per game to 29.0, while also notching career-best rebound (6.1) and assist (7.5) averages. His shooting numbers were nearly identical to what he deliver the season before, too, though he regressed from 37.5 percent to 35.9 percent from beyond the arc on 8.0 attempts per game. Most criticism directed at Harden lies in his sky-high high-usage rate, but that along with his durability and style of play make his a dream come true, from a fantasy perspective. Last season, Harden joined LeBron James and Michael Jordan as the only players in league history to record at least 2,000 points, 600 assists, 500 rebounds and 100 steals in a single season. Harden nearly accomplished the feat in 2014-15 as well, falling just 41 rebounds and 35 assists short. The 27-year-old is also an excellent free-throw shooter (career 85.5%) who gets to the line at an elite rate. He’s ranked third or higher in free-throw attempts in each of the last four seasons, finishing first three times. Harden’s combination of surplus counting stats and high-efficiency shooting make him arguably the top fantasy player in the league. While players like Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry both have strong cases of their own, no matter how you slice it, Harden is a consensus top-five fantasy commodity.
Most of the time, if a player averages less minutes, he doesn't post career highs. That was not the case for the MVP runner-up last season. Harden averaged 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 37 minutes through 81 games played. All of the aforementioned stats besides GP and MPG were career highs. Adding to his season is that these were all done with extreme efficiency as Harden shot 44 percent from the field, 38 percent from beyond the arc, and 87 percent from the stripe. Squashing any of the criticism that was thrown his way, Harden dramatically improved on defense this past season, and gone are the 20-minute video montages of him zoning out on defense. The Beard easily had one of his best seasons, and he did so even though a lot of his supporting cast (Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley, and Terrence Jones) were not available most of the season due to injury. Also, the Rockets went out and acquired Ty Lawson in a trade from the Nuggets this summer. Lawson looks to add something that the Rockets haven't really had in being a true point guard with the ability to score. Whether or not this will help or hurt Harden remains to be seen, and there probably will be a few growing pains at the beginning of the season. That being said, Harden still is one of the best and most efficient players in the NBA being able to score from anywhere on the court.
During the 2013-14 season, James Harden was able to reward the fantasy owners who drafted him and posted impressive numbers in his second season with the Rockets. He finished the year averaging 25.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals, and 2.4 three-pointers made, while playing 38 minutes per game. Although the loss of Chandler Parsons in free agency initially felt like it might sting a bit, the Rockets bounced back with the signing of Trevor Ariza, so the starting lineup didn't take as big of a hit as originally thought, and the team will still have a decent shooter to open the lane for Harden to drive to the hoop. Harden also continued his consistent shooting last season by slightly improving his field goal percentage from 44 percent in the 2012-13 season, to 46 percent last season. While his field goal percentage increased, it stayed the same from behind the arc, as he shot 37 percent from deep for the second season in a row. Look for Harden to continue to get plenty of shots up again this season, and post scoring averages in the mid to upper 20's, as most of the roster is pretty similar to last year, and the Rockets will be in the playoff hunt once again. While it seems strange to say, Harden could carry an even larger load on offense this season with Jeremy Lin having been traded to the Lakers this offseason.
After failing to sign Harden to a long-term extension last offseason, the Thunder dealt him to the Rockets just days before the start of the regular season, sending ripples across the league. Freed from the shackles of the sixth man role, Harden showed right away why the Rockets chose to build their franchise around him, scoring 82 points over his first two games with the team and finishing with season averages of 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 2.3 three-pointers per game. With the Rockets' point guard situation somewhat in flux following a disappointing season by Jeremy Lin, Harden figures to assume ball-handling duties more regularly than most shooting guards. Carrying those responsibilities in the fast-paced Rockets offense will continue to make Harden highly susceptible to turnovers (his 3.8 per game led the league last season), but he should only further bolster his assist totals moving forward, especially now that he's able to dump the ball off to the newly-signed Dwight Howard in the post. Although Howard's presence in the low block may cause congestion issues when his teammates attempt to drive the lane, Harden has proven to be an equally formidable weapon from both mid- and long-range and should make the necessary adjustments to accommodate Howard's game. Even if the arrival of Howard forces Harden to sacrifice some scoring volume, the 24-year-old still has room for growth in his shooting efficiency and as a distributor. He's clearly the top fantasy option at his position across nearly every format.
Harden raised his game in 2011-12, achieving career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, and all three shooting percentages. Deservingly so, the accolades began to pile up for Harden, as he took home the Sixth Man of the Year Award, helped lead the Thunder to the NBA Finals, and perhaps most impressively, earned a roster spot on Team USA for the London Olympics. Harden�s talent is unquestioned, but from a fantasy perspective, there remains concern about just how high his ceiling can be as the Thunder�s third scoring option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant and Westbrook both attempted a shade under 20 shots per game last season, leaving Harden to settle for about 10 on most nights. Although Harden could still see a small bump upward in minutes (he averaged 31.4 last season) to help him boost his stat line, it�s hard to imagine him ever becoming a 20-point per game scorer with the Thunder unless an injury to Durant or Westbrook occurs. The real coming out party for Harden might be next year. He�ll be a restricted free agent after the season, and with significant long-term money tied up in Durant, Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka, the Thunder may not have enough cash to keep Harden on board. If Harden were to land on another team as the franchise player or even as the second banana, he�d surely rocket up his value in 2013-14.
After showing great promise as a rookie, Harden enjoyed an increased role off the bench with the Thunder in his sophomore season. Going into this year, Harden is widely believed to have the starting shooting guard job in his pocket, thanks to his inspired play in the postseason – 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.4 three-pointers, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 1.6 turnovers in 32 minutes per game. It’s difficult to get too excited about Harden’s potential growth, however, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook requiring so many looks, but the departure of Jeff Green in a trade to the Celtics opened up some possessions for him. At a minimum, Harden should offer well-rounded production with a healthy heaping of three-pointers.
Because he averaged only 22.9 minutes per game last season, to understand Harden's production, it's necessary to adjust for the time he didn't spend on the court. With last year's playing time, Harden was an end-of-the-roster type player. But project him at something like 30 or 32 minutes, and Harden becomes a borderline starter in standard-format leagues. No, his scoring wasn't anything special – and with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook only improving, it might not become anything special – but his three-pointers (1.2 made per game), steals (1.1), and his free-throw shooting (80.8% on 3.2 attempts per game) all project as pretty decent. Of course, there's the question of whether Harden will actually play 30-32 minutes anytime soon. Thabo Sefolosha remains with the team and is also a threat for something like 25-30 minutes per contest thanks to his defensive skills.
The Thunder decided to pass on European wunderkind Ricky Rubio with the third overall pick in the draft in favor of Harden to address their perimeter shooting deficiency. Last year at Arizona State, Harden averaged 20.1 points, 4.2 assists, 1.7 treys and 1.7 steals on 48.9-percent shooting from the field. Although he ‘s one of the most NBA-ready prospects in this draft class, Harden still has some holes in his game that he needs to work on – namely the ability to create his own shot, his handles and his midrange shooting. Though highly touted and obviously skilled, he will not be guaranteed a spot in the starting lineup this season. As a matter of fact, he will probably be coming off the bench to start the year behind Thabo Sefolosha. Coach Scott Brooks will likely look for Sefolosha to set the early tone and bolster the team’s defense, then utilize Harden as an offensive spark off the bench who can spread the floor. It’s unlikely Harden will log much more than 22-26 minutes during the first half of the season, so be a bit conservative in setting expectations for him early on. He’ll be the player you want to pick up 40 or 50 games in after an impatient owner drops him, not one that you spend one of your first 10 draft picks on.
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Not on injury report
GHouston Rockets
August 12, 2020
Harden is not on the injury report for Wednesday's game against the Pacers.
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Ruled out Tuesday
GHouston Rockets
Rest
August 10, 2020
Harden will sit out Tuesday's game against the Spurs, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports.
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Scores 32 to go with full line
GHouston Rockets
August 9, 2020
Harden chipped in 32 points (10-21 FG, 3-12 3Pt, 9-9 FT), eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and one block in 32 minutes during Sunday's 129-112 win over the Kings.
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Explodes for 39 points
GHouston Rockets
August 6, 2020
Harden produced 39 points (11-19 FG, 5-10 3Pt, 12-12 FT), 12 assists, eight rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot across 35 minutes in Thursday's 113=97 win over the Lakers in Orlando.
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Paces team in loss
GHouston Rockets
August 5, 2020
Harden scored 23 points (7-17 FG, 3-8 3Pt, 6-7 FT) and added six rebounds and nine assists in 33 minutes during Tuesday's 110-102 loss to Portland.
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