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James Harden- The Houston Legend

What is Fantasy Basketball?

Fantasy Basketball allows you to draft real players from NBA where you can earn points using your drafted players. To earn points, you need to analyze the performance of each player on the court. Fantasy basketball demands you to create a team from the respective league. The players earn points based on their performances, and eared points determine losers and winners on a daily, weekly, and seasonal basis. You are required to draft fewer players in Fantasy Basketball compared to other Fantasy games.

Who is James Harden?

James Harden is an American professional basketball player that plays in the NBA (National Basketball Association) for the Western Conference team, the Houston Rockets. The 6 feet, 5 inches tall guard is considered one of the best players in the world and regarded by many as one of the greatest offensive players of all time, by some, the greatest for his unique arsenal in the offensive end of the floor. Be it the free throws, mid range, 3 pointers, layups, driving to the basket, drawing contact to keep possession or get free throws, he has mastered it all.

For his unique abilities and skills in the offensive end, he has managed to earn many individual accolades including the NBA Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2018, 2 time NBA Scoring Champion (2018 and 2019), NBA assists leader (2017), NBA 6th Man of the Year Award in 2012, 7 All Star selections from 2013 to 2019, 5 time All NBA First Team, 1 time All NBA Third Team and NBA All Rookie Second Team in 2010. With the US National Basketball team, he’s won the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Famously known by his nickname “The Beard” because of his iconic long beard, Harden also signed a $200 million deal with Adidas in 2015 for 13 years which also saw the business of his signature shoes such as the Harden Vol 2 and Harden Vol 3 go sky high.

Early Career and the 2009 NBA Draft

Harden went to the Artesia High School in Lakewood, California and made a name for himself by consistently performing well and averaging great numbers, especially in his junior season (18.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists) when he led his team to the California state title and a 33–1 record. Despite lacking team accolades in his college career with the Arizona State, Harden was considered as one of the top talents in college Basketball because of his numbers. In his best campaign, which was his sophomore year, he averaged 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. He then also made it to the All Pac 10 Tournament Team of 2009 and was later named the Pacific 10 Conference’s Player of the Year.

In the 2009 NBA Draft, Oklahoma City Thunder selected Harden with the 3rd overall pick in the first round. In his rookie season, Harden mainly came off the bench and played a shooting guard that took most of the 3 pointers. He averaged 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists on 37% shooting from behind the arc (considered great for a rookie) and was subsequently named to the NBA All Rookie Second Team. The 2011-12 season was a breakthrough season for James Harden as he came off the bench to average 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists on 50% shooting from the field and 40% shooting from the 3 point range for which he was awarded the NBA 6th man of the Year award. That season, along with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, he helped the Oklahoma City Thunder to qualify for the NBA Finals where they lost to LeBron’s Miami Heat. Although they lost, Harden put up some good numbers coming off the bench, averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while shooting 41% from 3.

Houston, we have solved a problem!

After impressive regular season and postseason performances and stats, James Harden was traded to the desperate Houston Rockets (who had been going through a revamp and had not qualified for the playoffs 3 seasons straight) where he was expected to be the leader and the featured player. On his debut against the Detroit Pistons, Harden registered 37 points, a career high 12 assists and 6 rebounds, becoming the first player in NBA history to score over 30 points in a double double on their debut and scored 45 points against the Hawks in his second game with the Houston Rockets, making it the most points scored in the first two games by any player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) history. Harden successfully managed to carry the Houston Rockets to the playoffs in his first season while averaging 26 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in the regular season, which was by far his best season statistically up until that point in his career. For his performances that season, he was selected for the 2013 All Star game and made it to the 2013 All NBA Third Team.

The 2013-14 season started seeing some flashes of the Harden that we know today as in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Christmas saw his make history when he scored 27 points with only 2 field goals made, making it the most points with the fewest field goals made ever (22-25 from the free throw line). He had an impressive season statistically as he managed to finish the regular season with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists, taking his team to the playoffs but facing a first round exit. However, he made it to the 2014 NBA All Star Team and was selected for the 2014 All NBA First Team for the first time in his career.

Harden came into the 2014-15 season on fire as he was already in the MVP contention after the first two months. That season, he also became a major triple double threat to the rest of the teams in the league as he recorded 5 triple doubles that regular season plus another triple double against the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2015 NBA Playoffs. In March 2015, against the Denver Nuggets, he recorded 50 points, a career high which was topped a month later by him with a 51 point game against the Sacramento Kings. He finished the regular season with 27 points (career high), 5.7 rebounds (career high), 7.0 assists (career high), 2 steals (career high) and .7 blocks (career high). He took the Houston Rockets to the 2015 NBA Playoffs where they met the Golden State Warriors, led by Steph Curry, in the 2015 Western Conference Finals. In the game 4, Harden scored a playoff career high 45 points, however, game 5 of the series still remains one of the worst games in his entire career as he made an NBA Playoff record recording 13 turnovers and only scored 14 points, that too, on 2 for 11 shooting. Harden could not stop improving as he went into the season dropping 40 plus points in back to back games against the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Clippers. Even though he started the season with great numbers individually, the Rockets struggled a lot as Harden did not have a great supporting cast which led to a poor record of 4 for 7 which saw the head coach, Kevin McHale, get fired. He continued his great form by averaging high numbers and recording triple doubles, which even saw him finish March with 450 points, 150 assists and 100 rebounds making him the first player since the legendary Oscar Robertson (who averaged a triple double for a season) to record those numbers in a single season. Overall, it was not a great season for the Rockets as they faced a first round exit in the playoffs but was statistically a great season for Harden as he averaged 29 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds, making him only the 4th player in NBA history to do so to join LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson.

Mike D’Antoni Era

The Houston Rockets signed a 4 year deal with future Hall of Fame coach Mike D’Antoni in the summer of 2016. Mike D’Antoni had been famous for playing “iso ball” and had made players like Steve Nash (2 time MVP award winner) and Carmelo Anthony legends of the game with some of the highest usage rate in the league. This meant more responsibility and ball handling for James Harden and he eventually became the point guard of the team. He dropped crazy numbers week in and out, recorded 7 triples only by December 30 of 2016, finishing the regular season with an insane 22 triple doubles, 29 points, 11 assists (led the league) and 8 rebounds per game. In the MVP voting, he finished second to OKC superstar and former and future teammate Russell Westbrook who had made history by averaging a triple double for a season, becoming the only player since Oscar Robertson to do so. The Rockets faced the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the playoffs and Harden recorded his second triple double in playoffs in game 5 but once again, when it mattered the most, Harden failed to win it for his team, as in the game 6 he only managed to score 10 points and got fouled out, ending his terrific season on a low.

MVP Season

The criticisms did not stop D’Antoni from playing iso ball with James Harden and once again, he was by far the best offensive player in the league which also got him a new contract of 4 years worth $160 million and rightfully so. 2 weeks into the start of the season, Harden dropped a career high 56 points in a win over the Utah Jazz. He kept making history as he went 30 consecutive games with at least 20 points and dropped 50 plus points in consecutive game, making him the first player in franchise history to do so. In January, he also recorded the first ever 60 point triple double in NBA history. In March 2018, while rocking the Harden Vol 2, he cooked the Portland Trail Blazers as he scored 42 points, matching the best ever record of the Rockets, 57-14. He helped the Rockets finish the regular season as number 1 seed for the first time in franchise history as they finished the season with 65 wins (the most in franchise history). He ended the season with 5 triple doubles, taking his total tally to 35, 30 points (led the league), 9 assists and 6 rebounds per game. For his 30 points per game, he also won the NBA Scoring Champion award, got selected for his 6th All Star game, 4th All NBA First Team and was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the league for the first time in his career. He took the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals in the 2018 NBA playoffs where they faced the Golden State Warriors again but lost in 6 games.

Teaming up with CP3 and Brodie

After several disappointing runs in the playoffs, it was perhaps time to bring in another all time great as The Rockets traded for the legendary point guard, Chris Paul. Signing Chris Paul meant less responsibilities for Harden as his usage rate fell down. Chris Paul continued to be the same old “Point God” that he had been in the past but many people started doubting him as he faced several injuries and was already 34 years old. People started calling Chris Paul washed and not the great player he was at one point in his career. Moreover, the chemistry between Chris and James never looked like the one with their biggest rivals in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson or LeBron and Kyrie since both the players had similar sort of roles. This led to their relationship end on a bad note.
In the summer of 2019, Russell Westbrook, former MVP, and a long time friend of James Harden teamed up in Houston which was seen as one of the biggest moves in NBA history since both were MVP calibre players in their prime and both had led the league in assists and scoring in the past. The fans cannot wait to see what the duo is about to deliver but one thing that is for sure is that James Harden, if he wins a ring or not, will remain the greatest player in the history of the Houston Rockets.

MPL Team
MPL Team - Enjoy reading gaming, fantasy, poker, and rummy articles by the MPL team on the MPL blog.


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