James Harden: Landing Star Guard Gives Rockets Most Intriguing Backcourt in NBA

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2012

Aug 8, 2012; London, United Kingdom; USA guard James Harden (12) in attendance during the men's quarterfinal between Brazil and Argentina in the 2012 London Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena.   Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Houston Rockets don't have the best backcourt in the league. However, in Jeremy Lin and James Harden, they do have the most intriguing one.

By now you've heard the details of the blockbuster trade that sent Harden to the Rockets (along with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and  Lazar Hayward) from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round selection.

You've also likely heard plenty of opinions about which team won the trade and whether or not the Thunder should have kept Harden for the start of this year and worked out a trade later in the season. There has also been plenty of speculation as to how Kevin Martin will fit in Harden's role this year.

But let's look at the move purely from the standpoint of how the Rockets will look on the court with Harden and Lin leading the way.

With the move, the Rockets have a pure scorer and potential superstar in Harden. In Lin, they have a player who took the NBA by storm last season (long live Linsanity!) and runs a smart game from the point.

Add in Harden's sweet beard, and I don't know how you aren't intrigued right now.

What makes this pair even more intriguing is the fact that we don't really know how they will react to a new environment.

Will Harden thrive as a leading man? Will he adjust to his role as a likely starter? How much was his game enhanced by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook?

For Lin, the questions are even more compelling. Was last year a fluke? Was he simply a product of being the perfect fit for Mike D'Antoni's system? Will he be able to withstand the pressure of a big contract with even bigger expectations on his shoulders now? Can he limit the turnovers? Can he withstand a full 82-game season?

And yet, despite all of the questions ,you can see how potent this pair could be. Both are capable of creating their own shot. Both are crafty, deceptive scorers who can hit from three or drive the lane. Both are cerebral players who create shots for teammates. 

And both will be expected to lead a young, promising team. There is potential aplenty in Houston with Omer Asik, Terrence Jones, Chandler Parsons and Royce White all expected to contribute and Carlos Delfino expected to fill in as a veteran presence off the bench.

If nothing else, the Rockets will be fun to watch.

But the fate of this team rests solely in the hands and jump shots of Harden and Lin. As this pair goes, so too will go the Rockets.

We could be looking at the best young backcourt in the NBA.

We could also be looking at an over-hyped, overpaid duo that will do nothing but disappoint. Or, you know, something in between those two options.

One thing is for certain—I can't wait to find out. Get excited, Houston fans—this season just got very, very interesting.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are clutch like Romo. Sergio Romo, that is.

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