Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Even after all of the moves the Houston Rockets made this offseason you still had the sense they weren’t done just yet. GM Daryl Morey pulled off a blockbuster deal to bring James Harden to Space City along with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward. The Rockets sent Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It’s going to take me a while to figure out how I truly feel about this deal. Dealing Kevin Martin makes sense due to it being his last year on his contract and not being in the future plans for this team. But letting Jeremy Lamb go before truly finding out who he is could eventually haunt the Rockets. Lamb has the potential to be a superstar in this league if he puts it all together.
This league is all about taking chances and going after the big prize. No one is better suited to pull off a deal like this than Daryl Morey. He’s been trying to land the big fish for years and it finally paid off.
James Harden is a star in this league. Just a few months ago he was playing in the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. He then won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. At the young age of 23, Harden is on his way to becoming a superstar.
Like it or not he immediately becomes the number one scoring option for Houston. He also gets what he wants. A starting job, the keys to the team and he’s expected to sign a max deal any minute. Harden will take a lot of pressure off of Jeremy Lin as they can both play the combo guard position while on the floor together. Both Lin and Harden can handle the ball, find their teammates and score at will. Harden is also a nice addition on defense.
I expect Harden to play about 35-38 minutes a game. He will average somewhere between 20-25 points a game with around 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. He shot an amazing 49% from the field last year. I expect that to take a bit of dip only because he will have to shoot more on his new team. He’s also an exceptional three-point and free-throw shooter. Harden can flat out score the ball at a high rate.
James may not be Dwight Howard but he is still an amazing talent with lots of room to improve. Make no mistake people will fear the beard more than ever in his new role with the Houston Rockets.