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Is James Harden right about the Houston Rockets?

Houston's guard James Harden answers a question after the NBA Japan Games 2019 pre-season basketball match between Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors in Saitama, northern suburb of Tokyo on October 10, 2019. (Photo by TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP) (Photo by TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)
Houston's guard James Harden answers a question after the NBA Japan Games 2019 pre-season basketball match between Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors in Saitama, northern suburb of Tokyo on October 10, 2019. (Photo by TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP) (Photo by TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Is James Harden right about the Houston Rockets’ talent?

While the Rockets’ chemistry was always going to take some time to develop the talent that the franchise possesses should be more than enough to make up for some early season growing pains. James Harden is in the MVP conversation every season, Christian Wood is playing like an All-Star, and John Wall has been better than expected as he comes back from a serious injury.

The core of the Rockets is good enough to compete and the rest of their roster is not full of a bunch of scrubs either. PJ Tucker is still a good player, Jae’Sean Tate has been great, Eric Gordon looks to be back after a poor season, Danuel House is good, Ben McLemore still doesn’t miss, and David Nwaba and DeMarcus Cousins have been decent coming off of serious injuries.

This Rockets team has high-end talent and is deep enough to compete with the best teams in the West, but that is all predicated on one thing occurring. The Rockets only have the talent to compete if James Harden is an elite player.

Harden has not been at his best this season and that’s why the Rockets don’t have the talent to compete with the Lakers. The man who has averaged over 30 points per game the previous three seasons is now averaging only 24.8 points per game.

He’s taking fewer shots and his efficiency has dipped from an effective field-goal percentage of 54.3-percent last season to 53.7-percent this season. That looks like a small drop, but when a player goes from taking 22.3 shots a game to 16.9, then their shooting should improve dramatically.

James Harden is right about the Rockets’ talents but it’s because he’s not giving the Rockets all of his. No team in the NBA has the talent to win a championship when their best player is giving the team only 50-percent of their ability on a nightly basis.

Next: Has James Harden done everything? 

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