Social distancing: James Harden’s top 10 step back jumpers as a Rocket

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Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

James Harden has been practicing social distancing for a long time. Here’s a countdown of the top 10 step backs of The Beard’s Houston Rockets career.

James Harden solidified himself as one of the all-time great offensive players over the past couple of years. While he’s impressed since his first season with the Houston Rockets, his offensive arsenal has only grown with each season.

Throughout Harden’s early seasons in Houston, he was known as a slasher that can also shoot. But as the years went on, Harden kept adding to his game. One of his earliest go-to moves was the famous euro step, which was made popular by another legendary lefty, Manu Ginobili.

In the 2018-19 NBA season, Harden began to use the step back jumper as his go-to move. Defenders know it’s coming but still can’t stop it due to the Harden’s offensive brilliance and ability to dribble the defender to sleep and then catch him by surprise.

Harden has joined names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant and Hakeem Olajuwon when it comes to having a signature shot. But, unlike the skyhook, one-legged fade-away and Dream Shake, the Harden step back can be used anywhere on the court.

Harden’s list of step back victims grows every season and sometimes by two players at a time, as you’ll see in number 10 on the countdown.

10. Harden Embarrasses Kyrie Irving & Jayson Tatum

March 3, 2019 – In a road game against the Boston Celtics, James Harden gave Kyrie Irving a dose of his own medicine with top-level ball-handling skills. With the Rockets up by nine with fewer than four minutes remaining, Harden used his social distancing skills to create enough space to hit the dagger on both Irving and Jayson Tatum.

Many think Harden got away with a travel. Did he travel? Who knows! Maybe that’s why the referee didn’t make it a four-point play? The one thing we know is Harden’s step back three iced the victory for the Houston Rockets.

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