1. James Harden saved Houston’s season
The Rockets got off to a terrible start last season, winning just 11 of their first 25 games and were outside of the playoff race nearly a third of the way through the season. Injuries, poor defense and cold streaks from various players all played a role in Houston’s struggles, but Harden put the team on his back and led the Rockets to a strong finish.
By the end of the season, the Rockets were a completely different team. They won 20 of their final 25 games and they went from the near the bottom in the Western Conference to tying the Trail Blazers for the third best record in the west.
After the 25th game of the season, when the Rockets lost to the Mavericks and people were questioning if Houston would even make the playoffs, Harden kicked things into high gear. After a win in Portland, The Beard dropped 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over the Lakers.
That outburst was the beginning of an amazing streak for Harden, who went on to score at least 30 points in 32 consecutive games. The Rockets won 21 of those 32 games in a time period that completely turned Houston’s season around. Harden averaged 41.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists and grabbed 2.2 steals over that 32 game span, which was the best stretch of basketball we’ve seen from his Hall of Fame worthy career.
James Harden’s historic run saved Houston’s season, and I’m not sure you could say the same thing about any other players the NBA. He demonstrated night after night why he was the most potent offensive weapon in basketball and should’ve won last season’s MVP.