James Harden is the talk of the NBA. Last year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden proved to be the best sixth man in the league, heavily contributing to his team’s scoring. He was a part of a young team that cruised to the Finals last year, but were devastated after losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Harden is a spectacular player. Some think he is so spectacular that he should have been starting in the Finals. James was stuck behind the shadows of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook last season. Yes he was popular, but there is a difference between starting a game and coming off the bench. Now, the 23 year old has a new home. James Harden is now the Houston Rockets’ go-to-guy, and is fulfilling his new role.
The Houston Rockets were predicted to finish dead last in the Western Conference this year. Houston picked up the most hyped player last year in Jeremy Lin, but there was still no hope for the Rockets. The team appeared as though they would enter an era with a multitude of losing seasons, and with no hope of rebuilding. Now, fake beards are sweeping Houston as James Harden is leading a once hopeless team, into a team who could possibly make the playoffs. Harden has the ropes in his hand, and is doing what he has to do to turn the Houston Rockets into a winning team.
James Harden has established himself as a truly elite player in the NBA. He hits clutch three pointers and can control any game at his own pace. He is a 23 year old playing like an experienced veteran. It is simply jaw-dropping. Harden played as well as he possibly could have in last year’s playoffs. When the Thunder reached the Finals, however, James showed his immaturity. He missed shot after shot, made stupid decisions, and even missed a breakaway layup. He was choking, and it was hard to watch. However, that was then, and this is now. Fresh off of a gold medal win in the London Olympics, Harden is more wise, and is playing the game at a higher level. In three seasons in Oklahoma City, Harden scored over 30 points in only three games. After eight games in Houston, he has scored 30 or more points in three games. James Harden is downright scary to a defense. He can attack the rim and finish strong, or pull it out and drain a three. Not only can he score, but he is one of the quickest players in the league and can dart past almost any player. James Harden has clearly seized and taken the opportunity to lead a team like Houston.
All in all, Harden is just a kid. A kid with a grizzly beard and talent like no other. Kids adore him for the beard and his signature look when he scores a deep three. Harden leans over and puts down three fingers while sticking his tongue out while jogging down the floor. His inner child shows, but it all contributes to his momentum and on-court swagger. It seems like basketball analysts across the country critique Harden so harshly. They forget he is so young because of how well he plays. This is a man who is already a good player, but could become a great player. Over the next few years, James Harden will blossom and be a threat to anyone in the world. To all NBA teams, Fear the Beard.