NBA News

NBA Off-Season: 2013-2014 Top 5 Shooting Guards

By Bryson Jones
5 of 5

Mar 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

1. James Harden

2012-2013 Statistics: 26.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists 

James Harden got traded exactly a game before the season started and not many (including myself) was expecting anything like what we got from him.  The 23-year-old shooting guard proved that he had game when he won 6th man of the year with the Oklahoma City Thunder the year prior.  He also proved that he could play and hold his own with the world’s elite in the 2012 Olympics in London, and even with all of those credentials he still wasn’t thought to be able to carry a team into the playoffs.

Harden got traded to the Houston Rockets, and exploded on the scene, dropping 37 points in his season debut against Detroit, then out did that effort by dropping 45 against the Atlanta Hawks in the next game.  Even with the acquisition of Harden, the team was still not expected to make the playoffs in the highly loaded, highly talented Western Conference.  The team crept into the playoffs with the 8th seed and took the Oklahoma City Thunder to 6 games, scaring the team multiple times: each game came within a play or two of beating the Thunder.

Harden was the soul reason that the Rockets got into the playoffs, which is why he comes in no. 1 on my list.  And now, with the acquisition of the biggest free agent name since Lebron James in Dwight Howard, the Rockets have went to a cute side story to TITLE CONTENDERS in just one season.  It’s safe to say with the pick up of Howard, Harden’s game will continue to grow and they are in prime position to pick up a championship or two in the years to come.