When the Houston Rockets traded Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and 3 draft picks for Oklahoma City Thunder SG James Harden, there were many questions. Harden would be going from the 6th man for the Western Conference Champions to the star player for a rebuilding Rockets franchise. The Sixth Man of the Year in 2011 was now going to be the star for the Houston Rockets, but could he handle the pressure?
If his debut with the Rockets on Wednesday night was any premonition of what is to come, he is well worth the 5 year $60 Million extension he just signed with the Rockets. In the Rockets season opener against the Detroit Pistons Harden set multiple milestones. Harden achieved the first double double of his career with 37 points and a career high 12 assists. The 37 points fell just 3 short of his career best 40, while his 12 assists set a career best. While the statistics are great the most important thing for the Rockets and Harden was getting the W, and that is exactly what they did knocking out the Pistons 105-96. It was the perfect opener for the Rockets and James Harden, as they hope this is just the beginning of something great.
While I certainly don’t think Harden will average 30 points per game or even 27 points per game, but he will lead this Rockets team. He will struggle at times when he is double teamed, something he rarely saw in his time in Oklahoma City, but it will not slow him down. James Harden is the heart and soul of the Houston Rockets, and they just got a young All Star locked up for the next 6 years.