Ways James Harden Transforms the Houston Rockets

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Ways James Harden Transforms the Houston Rockets
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The moment James Harden joined the Houston Rockets, everything changed.

The squad of young turks, helmed by erstwhile overnight sensation Jeremy Lin, were all still learning the game at the NBA level. As a result, they looked destined for a lottery pick. A .500 season was perhaps a pipe dream, but it was the best anybody was hoping for.

The Bearded One has drastically altered those projections.

Lin told the Houston Chronicle, “[Harden]’s our leader. He’s our best player. We feed off him…if you look at our season as a whole, we’ve surpassed a lot of people’s expectations, and he’s a big part of it."

Watching him sometimes reminds me of the bus in the movie Speed: compelled to go faster than 50 MPH, sometimes careening out of control, but heart-poundingly thrilling to watch and root for.

Harden's energy and enthusiasm have imbued the Rockets and the city of Houston with a spirit of fun and excitement not seen since a healthy Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady were wearing the red and white. In addition, Harden's impressive melange of skills have transformed the Rockets into serious, even likely, playoff contenders.

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