The question is, can he actually become the man for Houston?
Harden is the defending Sixth Man of the Year, which is akin to winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. But in Oklahoma City, Harden never had to be the leading man—Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook generally shouldered that responsibility.
Now it's Harden's time to prove he can live up to expectations with top billing in Houston. With a huge contract likely on the way and the bounty it took to acquire him, you can bet Houston's fans will be expecting huge things from day one.
Plus, Houston generally has a very young team. There is a lot of potential there, sure, but Harden is going from an experienced Thunder team fresh off an NBA Finals appearance to a youthful Rockets' side.
In other words, even more pressure on Harden to put this team on his shoulders.
Listen, I loved the trade for Houston. As I wrote yesterday, I think Harden and Lin make up the most intriguing backcourt in the NBA this season. I think Harden is a stud, and he shouldn't have any problem putting the ball in the bucket for Houston.
James Harden will be a ___________ in Houston.
That will be the test this year. That will be what determines if he is worth the boatload of money he'll soon sign for and the huge price the Rockets paid to land him in the first place. That will be the difference between he and Lin being an intriguing backcourt and being an excellent one.
Harden and his beard have made Houston a team to watch this season. Whether the bearded one will also make Houston a playoff team that consistently wins remains one of the most interesting questions of the season.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are clutch like Romo. Sergio Romo, that is.