Rockets Notes: Harden, D’Antoni, Anderson, James

In the midst of another MVP-worthy season, James Harden continues to impress people around the league, including his head coach, Mike D’Antoni. As Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports writes, after the Rockets defeated the Trail Blazers on Tuesday, D’Antoni labeled Harden as “the best offensive player I’ve ever seen.”

Harden posted 42 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in the win, just the latest standout performance in a season filled with them. For D’Antoni, who has coached the likes of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and Carmelo Anthony, Harden offers an all-around skill set that is unmatched.

“He’s a hell of a player, first off,” D’Antoni said. “It’s a combination of everything. There are other players who might be better at this, or a little bit better at that. But when you put everything together, and the way he passes, the way he sees teammates, the way he can lob, the way he can fight through a foul. I mean even on an off night, he’s probably getting 30, 40 points, and I mean efficiently. And he doesn’t even have anything going. But he’s so efficient, and he gets other guys involved. … He’s got one flaw. He does get tired some. He’s mortal. And that’s it. Other than that …”

Harden is averaging 31.2 PPG, 8.7 APG, and 5.2 RPG for the Rockets. After finishing as the runner-up to Russell Westbrook in MVP voting one season ago, Harden looks like the clear-cut favorite this year’s award.

Check out more news and notes out of the Rockets organization:

  • Tyronn Lue took a leave from his coaching post with the Cavaliers due to health concerns, and D’Antoni understands how the rigors of the job can require someone to take a needed step back, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. “Especially if you lose, you wonder what you could do differently. My first 20 years in coaching, even more, I couldn’t read books, for sure,” D’Antoni said. “I could read short articles, but I had a hard time escaping. I think I’ve gotten to a point I can read books and escape more than I used to. I try not to drive myself crazy.”
  • Ryan Anderson has seen a lot of time at center since he returned from injury and the Rockets anticipate him continuing to play the position going forward, Feigen writes in a separate story. “We’ll look at all possibilities, but he’ll play some five for sure,” D’Antoni said. “Then, we’ll see. Matchups, maybe in the playoffs, will be different here and there, but right now we’re going to look at this.”
  • LeBron James will be a free agent this offseason and his decision figures to be the NBA’s story of the summer. The Rockets are one of several teams that have been linked to James, prompting Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report to examine how the Rockets can add the four-time MVP without sacrificing Chris Paul and other assets.
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15 thoughts on “Rockets Notes: Harden, D’Antoni, Anderson, James

  1. the dude

    How come no one talks about how good the Thunder are at drafting players? I mean they had to get rid of James Harden cuz they had Russell Westbrook. Has any team ever traded a player that went on to top MVP voting alongside the player they kept when they had to choose?

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    • the dude

      My point I guess is, when Harden wins MVP this year, there will have been a time the Thunder has 3 MVPs on their roster on rookie deals.

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      • clubberlang

        Had not stopped and thought about it, but yeah that is crazy good scout/draft management. Durant was fairly Hi-Profile so you could argue no shock there, but Russ and Beard….

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        • Itrainsontuesday

          Not to mention guys like Ibaka and Steven Adams in the mid to late first. Those types of moves help keep smaller market teams in the mix.

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      • madmanTX

        I don’t think the Thunder knew what they had in Harden when he left. They thought he was just a supporting player and he and the Rockets knew he was better than that.

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    • Durant was the number 2 pick after LeBron. Okay no brainer there… it didn’t take a genius… he was consensus number two.

      James Harden was the number 3 pick. Didn’t take a genius.

      The only semi genius move was Russell Westbrook. He was ranked around number 15 in his draft going into the workouts. After showing what he was capable of physically, he started moving up into the single digits and teams scrambled to adjust their profile of him. Most figured he would go 5-7 but the Thunder grabbed him at number 4, taking a slight risk. The only thing people were unsure of was his point guard skills. He played off the ball at UCLA. Could he run the point in the NBA? The risk by the Thunder paid off as he’s been unbelievable in the NBA.

      Now, I would not call the Thunder geniuses, but rather idiots for trading away a future MVP. They made the mistake of valuing Serge Ibaka over Harden and the rest is history. They’ve been trying to get wings scorers to fill the void ever since. Carmelo, Paul George Etc.

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  2. formerlyz

    James Harden is the only player I’ve ever not enjoyed watching.

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    • yoyo137

      I can understand this completely. It’s painful to watch him destroy defenders 1 on 1 and throw his head back and get a call everytime. But man if it isn’t effective.

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      • Yes but the great thing is as the playoffs move forward he gets those calls less and less.

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        • ldfanatic

          And now has CP3 and the best role players/bench depth in basketball.

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          • formerlyz

            Chris Paul is by far their best player. If they go far, it’s b/c of him. Either that or maybe Harden gets those calls in the playoffs. I’d love to see him get called for an offensive foul 1 of those times when he throws his arms into people.

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