The Houston Rockets are continuing their small-ball experiment, but the whole thing revolves around James Harden, the most lethal weapon in the NBA’s bubble.
There has been one overarching storyline when it comes to the Houston Rockets since the NBA’s trade deadline. Small-ball is the name of the game for this team now and the Rockets are going to have to perfect it if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs. Of course, the only reason they can get away with perpetually playing this configuration is that they have James Harden, the best scorer in the league today.
He may not be as explosive as LeBron James or nearly as lethal an outside shooter as Stephen Curry, and believe it or not, he doesn’t even get to the free throw line as much as Giannis Antetokounmpo (although it’s close), but he’s able to maximize his own physical gifts, scoring savvy and intelligence.
James Harden has led the NBA in scoring each of the past three seasons (the season before that in 2016-17, he led the league in assists at 11.2 per game) and at the age of 30 this year he’s averaging 34.4 points per game.
There’s no doubt his scoring his second to none in the NBA, but the league’s restart bubble may unlock him in ways that we’ve not seen before, even by the 2017-18 MVP’s own luminous standards.
Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons that James Harden will prove to be the NBA bubble’s most lethal weapon.