Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
So... James Harden had a pretty crazy start to the season, huh?
After failing to come to terms on an extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder before the Oct. 31 deadline, OKC traded Harden and a few role players to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and a few draft picks.
Suddenly, instead of being on a team that was three wins from an NBA championship in 2012 with two of his Team USA teammates, Harden found himself on a roster with nothing but young players and new additions, such as Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.
How did Harden respond? Masterfully.
He erupted for 37 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, four steals and a block against the Detroit Pistons in his first game as a Rocket. We've since learned that the Pistons are terrible, but still... that line doesn't exactly happen on a nightly basis in the NBA.
In his next game, against the Atlanta Hawks, Harden managed to drop 45 points on only 19 shots. Think Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was having buyer's remorse after those first two games? Not quite.
Through seven games, Harden is managing a sensational 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He's third in the league in scoring, behind only Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony (and yes, ahead of former teammate Kevin Durant).
He's only shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 25.6 percent from three-point range, both below his career averages, but as he adjusts to being his team's No. 1 offensive option on a night-in, night-out basis, he's likely to improve his shooting percentages across the board.