Clint Capela is a passable basketball player. But he is very, very nice to pass to if you are the new point guard incarnation of James Harden. You might be surprised to see the third-year center elbow out DeAndre Jordan and—much more to the point—Dwight Howard for the highest field goal percentage in the league, but there he is, right above both of them, at 62.3 percent. He can thank Harden for that honor, and for most of last night’s career-high 21 points:
Capela takes 85 percent of his shots within two seconds of touching the ball, and often before his feet even return to the hardwood. Of Capela’s nine field goals last night, seven came off Harden passes, and five of those were alley-oops. My favorite was this little ruse, wherein Harden works Damian Lillard just hard enough to attract Mason Plumlee’s attention, and then fades away while floating the ball up for Capela to spike home.
The connection has been working out productively for both parties:
And those 56 assists make up just over a quarter of Harden’s season total of 208, a steady supply for the man leading the league with 12.2 a game.
I hope Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni feels tingles of nostalgia watching this toned-down version of the Steve Nash-Amar’e Stoudemire connection. Meanwhile, I hope Dwight Howard feels salty seeing this 22-year-old excelling in the role he was too proud to take up himself. Instead of clamoring for post touches, you should have been content to jump really high and slam the ball down, man. It could have been so fun.