Houston Rockets moment #11: The debut of The Beard
On Halloween of 2012, James Harden made his Houston Rockets debut in a performance that would send a clear message to the rest of the league; be afraid. This game against the Detroit Pistons would mark the start of eight straight seasons of greatness, competitiveness, playoff performances, and all else that was to come from the James Harden era of Houston Rockets basketball.
After securing him in one of the most infamously lopsided deals of all time, the Rockets watched with optimism as Harden dropped 37 points, dished 12 dimes, grabbed four steals, and secured the first of many wins in the process for Houston. All it took was one game for the city and organization to realize that they had their guy for the decade.
Posting the highest number of points for a player debut in Rockets history, Harden led the way in overcoming the eight-point deficit the Rockets faced in the fourth quarter against the Pistons that night. He did so efficiently too, shooting 56 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep.
This game is also special in that it shows a noticeably different version of Harden than what many fans have become familiar with over the past few years. The level of savvy and finesse he breaks down his opponents with these days make it easy to forget just how athletic and explosive he was in his younger days.
Additionally, at this point in time, the euro-step was Harden’s trademark move. He absolutely still had a killer step-back, but it was not the move most associated with him nor his go-to as it is these days.
This game provides an interesting look back into the early days of James Harden’s Rockets career, and more importantly an unforgettable debut for an unforgettable player.
Next: No. 10