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James Harden Has Been the Best Houston Rockets' Player This Season

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 31:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets waits to make a pass against the Atlanta Hawks at the Toyota Center on December 31, 2012 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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Vinny HardyCorrespondent IJanuary 9, 2013

Since James Harden has become a member of the Houston Rockets, he's done exactly what has been expected of him.

He has stepped into his role as a full-time starter and excelled.

Harden has embraced the responsibility of being the Rockets' first option since day one.

Literally.

After torching the Detroit Pistons in his first-ever game as a Rocket on Oct. 31, he then went out and lit up the Atlanta Hawks in his second game on Nov. 2, just to show that it wasn't a fluke.

He has hit the ground running in Houston and hasn't stopped. He has calmly averaged 26.5 points per game, good for fourth in the NBA.

It's all about consistency with Harden. In less than half of a season he's already put himself in some elite Houston Rockets company.

 

James Harden has scored at least 25 Pts in 13 straight games, tied w/ Moses Malone for longest streak in franchise history #FearTheBeard

— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) January 9, 2013

 

Yes, that Moses Malone. Very impressive.

The Beard isn't just about putting the ball in the hole. He is good for 5.4 assists per game as well. Teammates remain involved and better stay ready because the ball will be coming their way.

Here's the thing about Harden, though: He has a lot of room to improve. Yes, as great as he's been he can still get better.

Per basketball-reference.com: Harden is 67-of-202 on shots between three feet and the three-point line.

Shot DistanceAt Rim134203.66000 .66042.313
 3 to 9 ft2278.28200 .2822.091
 10 to 15 ft927.33300 .3330.000
 16 ft to 3-pt3697.37100 .3717.194
 3-pt67187.35867187.358.53731.463

 

 

That's only 33.1 percent.

Wait until he develops that mid-range game a little bit more consistently. If defenders close out hard on him and take away his three-point shot, he can take a couple of dribbles in and raise up from about 16 feet.

Or wait until he adds a little teardrop when he isn't able to get all the way to the rim.

Give him a little time. The really great players always add something to their arsenal every offseason to keep opponents off balance and make themselves more versatile.

Oh, and there is one more thing we often forget. Although it seems as if he's been around forever, Harden is only 23 years old. 

He's just getting started.

All stats are accurate as of 1/9/13.

 


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