James Harden has impressed the USA coaches all summer. Earlier on at the USA basketball training camp Harden was praised for his willingness to be a good defender. Now he is being praised for his leadership skills.
Coming into the summer for the national team Harden was already looked at as veteran to some of the newer guys on the team. Harden was a member of the 2012 Olympic gold medal team along with Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis.
Durant was looked at by many to be the leader of the national team this year, but he has since pulled away from the team leaving Harden next in line for leadership. By the looks of things, Harden is taken advantage of becoming a leader for Team USA. Coach Kryzewski had this to say about Harden:
James has been as good a leader as we’ve had for this team. He has a great personality. He is an upbeat guy, smart, and he’s obviously very, very talented. With this group, especially after Kevin left, he has asserted himself even more as an older guy. I know him, he knows me, because we have worked together. He’s really one of our key guys. There is no question about it.
Many people in Houston wonder if Harden has the leadership skills to lead the Rockets into contention. Coming from Oklahoma City to Houston, Harden had to take on that role quickly. He admits that from a leadership standpoint he is still growing and leading the national team to a gold medal can certainly help Harden make the leap from that standpoint.
“I’m capable of leading a team,” Harden said. “Obviously, I’m still learning and have a long way to go, but the first couple of steps is already there. So, trying to be more vocal is part of my leadership role, especially on this team. Guys have the talent but guys are kind of shy and might not want to talk. Coach K had plenty of talks with me, (telling me to) make sure you’re vocal, make sure guys hear you. So, that’s what I tried to do.”
As the leadership part of Harden’s game grows that could only mean good things for the future of Houston. Increased confidence of Harden along with Howard could mean a big season for Houston this year.