Watching the Houston Rockets this year has been an exercise in basketball science fiction theater. With Mike D’Antoni playing the role of mad scientist, there has been a marked change in the player the National Basketball Association would have us believe is James Harden.
Averaging close to 13 assists per game this season, The Beard has more double-digit assist games in the first two weeks of this season (five) than he did in the first two months of last season.
Admittedly, I’ve been hard on James Harden in the past, with his lack of defensive effort and high assist-to-turnover ratio having been the bane of my basketball-watching existence.
Though it’s impossible to predict if he’ll keep up this pace of averaging 31.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 12.7 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field, Harden’s production and distribution of the rock are definitely an eye-opener worthy of note. The Rockets are 4-3 on the season, but at least it doesn’t appear to be the result of James Harden being an unwilling passer.