Representing the Houston Rockets for the eighth straight year, James Harden should look to make history and have some fun in the process.
One of the most endearing qualities of Houston Rockets superstar James Harden is how he clearly likes to have fun on the court. With the news breaking Thursday that he was voted as a Western Conference All-Star starter once again, The Beard will get to show off his fun side once again in the NBA’s most entertaining exhibition game.
The selection gives Harden eight All-Star appearances since he began his career in 2009 with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Being named an All-Star for the eighth time ties James with fellow teammate Russell Westbrook, however, there is a decent chance Russ will pull back ahead when the All-Star reserves are announced on Thursday, Jan 30 on NBA Tip-Off.
Only Hakeem Olajuwon (12) has more All-Star selections as a Rocket than James Harden, who moved into a tie with Yao Ming on that list with Thursday’s announcement. Given that Harden is 30-years-old, he certainly has the potential to catch and surpass The Dream over the next five years, assuming he remains with the team over that span.
Establishing himself as the Houston Rocket with the most All-Star selections would be quite a feat, considering the man he would be passing. Still, with the kind of season Harden is having, there’s no reason he can’t make history on Feb 16, when the 2020 All-Star game takes place.
In the interest of entertaining the Chicago crowd, showing his abilities and most importantly having fun, here are three things James Harden should try to accomplish next month at the All-Star Game.
Break Out His One-legged Stepback Three
No, we still haven’t forgotten about the move James Harden was working on this past offseason that looked like something out of NBA Street. There was already buzz before the preseason even began when he started breaking out the move in pickup games, as shared by Bleacher Report’s Twitter:
Although obviously a pickup game is a far cry from NBA-level competition, Coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t fully dismiss the possibility of Harden using the shot in an NBA game, telling Rockets Insider Alykhan Bijani: “We’ll see. I don’t know if he needs it or not…his game is pretty complete.”
Sure enough, Harden attempted the one-legged three a couple of times in the preseason, including this one against the Shanghai Sharks.
Given that the Rockets ended up beating Shanghai 140-71, it’s safe to say a game like that gives James some leeway in what kind of shots he takes. The same will be the case in the All-Star Game, which has turned into flat-out dunk contests at times where defenses are literally moving out of their opponent’s way.
James Harden has plenty of friends in the league that would get a kick out of him attempting the unnecessary move and getting one to fall. The way All-Star games go, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an opposing guard attempt the same shot if Harden has success.