Rockets shooting guard James Harden is growing increasingly frustrated with the team’s up-and-down play this season, Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com notes. “Yeah, because my first year was different,” Harden said. “We weren’t as talented and we still made playoffs, which was a big step for us. We have a lot of talent in this locker room, of course, coming off the Western Conference finals and being in the seventh spot right now. It’s frustrating, but we still have opportunities.”
Harden has come under fire for being careless with his turnovers and not being more of a playmaker, but interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff says that the swingman has shown marked improvement this season in both areas, Watkins adds. “One thing, his turnovers are down dramatically,” Bickerstaff said. “If his turnovers are down, then his assists are up. That’s one of the things he said he wanted to improve on, and obviously he’s done it, the decision-making … the creativity has been there. It’s been outstanding the last month. It’s not surprising, we knew he could do it.” It should be noted that despite Bickerstaff’s praise, Harden is still averaging 4.4 turnovers per game on the year, which would be a career high if he were to finish the season with that mark.
Here’s more from out West:
- The Grizzlies have been second-guessed for not resting Marc Gasol when he complained of foot soreness, but doing so would only likely have delayed his injury, not prevented it, Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal opines. The center is out indefinitely with a broken foot, though Herrington speculates Gasol won’t return to action this season, which goes along with an earlier report from Marca.com that indicated the Spaniard would miss four to six months of action.
- Mario Chalmers has solidified the Grizzlies’ bench with his play as reserve point guard since arriving via trade earlier this season from Miami, but when the Heat were looking to find a taker for the veteran, a number of teams, including the Jazz, were turned off by Chalmers’ stubborn personality and propensity to make poor decisions on the court, notes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com.
- The Mavs are pleased with the development of 2015 first-rounder Justin Anderson, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. “He’s not putting up big numbers or anything like that, but he’s playing solid within the system and has had some good plus-minus stretches,” coach Rick Carlisle said of the young swingman. “So he’s making progress. He’s learned a lot over the last three months. He’s doing what he needs to do. Generally, he’s in there with other primary guys and playmakers. Many of his shot opportunities will come off of other activity. But defensively, he’s made progress. Where we are right now, we need him.“
- Nuggets camp cut Matt Janning‘s deal with the Russian club Lokomotiv Cuban includes a team option for 2016/17, international journalist David Pick informed Hoops Rumors.