The Houston Rockets, while in the final throes of the failed partnership between James Harden and Dwight Howard, transformed from a contender into one of the saddest-ass teams in the NBA last year. Now Howard is gone, Mike D’Antoni is the new coach, and James Harden is, uh, holy shit, look at James Harden.
Those are highlights from last night’s Rockets-Spurs game, which the Rockets won behind Harden’s 24-15-12 triple-double. Harden was installed as the Rockets’ point guard this offseason, and D’Antoni told Bleacher Report that he hoped Harden could average something like 15 assists per game. The moment turned into a fun preseason soundbite when Harden responded to D’Antoni’s projection by saying simply, “Coach trippin’.”
Turns out, D’Antoni wasn’t so far off. Harden has dished 15 or more assists in five games this year, and is averaging 13 per game, which combines with his 30 points and seven rebounds per game to create one of the more ridiculous stat lines of the young season. Someone could look you in the eyes right now and declare that James Harden is both the best current point guard and player in the NBA, and you’d have few meaningful ways to refute such a claim.