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Will Houston Rockets’ James Harden Become League’s Best Player?

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Happy Birthday James Harden!

Houston Rockets’ MVP James Harden turns 26 today!

When James Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2012, many fans were unsure that Harden had what it takes to be a star in this league. Including Harden himself.

After three seasons with the Rockets those doubts have been put to rest, as James Harden has established himself as an elite player in the league.

Now entering his seventh season at only 26 years old, the former Sixth Man of the Year might have a chance to be the best player in the league.

Just look at his numbers.

Each year since entering the league in 2009, Harden’s game has continued to improve as an elite player.

It is hard to imagine that the Harden who was once a player that averaged just 9.0 points and 1.8 assists playing second fiddle to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for three seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, has been able to rank in the top ten in scoring and assisting in each of the last three seasons.

May 17, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots the ball during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers in game seven of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Even as the go to man for the Rockets, Harden’s shooting has only gotten better. His field goal percentage never fell below 43 percent, and his free-throw percentage continues to be on the rise going from 80 percent his rookie year to 86.6 percent last season.

He maybe the Rockets primary score, but Harden has showed his ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.

Last season Harden elevated his game to MVP status’s when he averaged a career high 27.4 points and 7.0 assists while adding 5.7 rebounds per games. .

If James Harden continues to improve his game every year over the next few season, the sky’s the limit for the bearded one.

However, there is still one aspect of Harden’s game he still needs to develop in order to take that next step to become the best player in the league.

Defense has never been one of Harden’s best essentials on the court. In fact it’s the skill he lacks most, and during the 2013-14 NBA season there was a YouTube video that highlighted just how poor Harden’s defense was.

Although he has gotten better averaging a career high 1.9 steals, on the defensive-end this past season, there were still moments when his man got open looks at the basket.

Another key area of Harden’s games that needs improvement is his ball handling.

Just last season Harden averaged a career high 4.0 turnovers a game. Only Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis averaged more turnovers than Harden during the season.

If Harden is able to become a legit defensive player, and take care of the ball better no player in the league would be better than him.

Not even the self-proclaimed “Best Player in the World,” LeBron James would be better than James Harden. Nor the 2015 MVP Stephen Curry.

It will be exciting to watch James Harden over the next couple of seasons to see just how good Harden will become. Remember Harden just turned 26 today meaning he’s yet to reach the prime of his career!

Next: Which Former Rocket Just Had a Birthday?

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