How James Harden’s chubbiness will (not) impact next season for the Rockets

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 18: James Harden
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 18: James Harden /

NBA fans react to and get a laugh out of Houston Rockets star James Harden‘s summer body.

The Rockets’ own James Harden is kind of chubby right now, so that’s cool. The first evidence of his inevitable MVP hangover was seen in the form of this image below, depicting the star wearing a couple extra pounds in place of a shirt.

Houston Rockets James Harden in today for Boxing Training #houstonrockets #jamesharden #tempe #asu #asubasketball #NoOneWillOutworkMeToday

A post shared by Joe Leinhauser (@ironglovesboxing) on

Disclaimer: The NBA community reacted to this out of boredom, and in ten out of the twelve months in the year, this isn’t really worth talking about. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in one of those other two months, and I find myself equally as bored as the rest of the basketball world. So let’s talk fat jokes, yeah?

Not unusual

This isn’t the first time that Harden’s Summer fitness has been under the spotlight; the last time Harden reportedly showed up to training camp with a little extra padding was before the putrid 2015-16 season that saw the Rockets post a 41-41 record, the team’s worst since the 05-06 season. Former Head Coach Kevin McHale sighted Harden’s weight gain as a contributor to the team’s slow start that saw McHale relieved from his coaching position with the team, and saw the season spiral into a pit of despair.

So this raises some questions. Does the return of pudgy Harden serve as a bad omen for the 2018-19 season? Does it mean Carmelo Anthony‘s integration is going to crash and burn when he sees that he isn’t the only guy in town with a belly? Does it mean that Mike D’Antoni is going to be fired, and the Rockets are going to be swept as the eighth seed out west? Surely Harden being a bit round in August is a newsworthy and valuable tidbit that will have a deep impact on the basketball to be played in the months ahead, right?

Not at all. All it really means is that Harden has probably enjoyed his Summer and that the internet has a golden opportunity to get some jokes off at his expense:

James Harden's body fat % is higher than his 3P%.

— Kris Hanson (@KrisHansonRCF) August 8, 2018

No impact

Harden’s blubber will have a minimal impact on how this season goes for Houston. In the worst-case scenario, he doesn’t get back into peak shape and he still gives the league chubby buckets all season long regardless. His game isn’t one that’s deeply rooted in athleticism; the man doesn’t really need to be lean to hit a step-back three in your face or to body you on the way to the rim, and those made shots would be that much more insulting if they were coming from a guy built like a beer keg.

It’s likely that he’ll cut off some weight buy the start of the season anyway though, so anyone that may be worried about how his being plump will impact his performance can chill out and relax.

For those that find him adding some MVP weight to be a little funny, just wait to see the pounds he’ll put on if he wins a championship this season. We’d essentially have Rick Ross with a jump shot running the two-spot. I’ll leave you with that to consider and look forward to.

Key matchups to watch this year. Next

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