In today’s Daily Rocket Science, The Beard has been set free and the Houston Rockets have gotten off to a solid start. However, with the rumors of a few legal problems, will James Harden’s season be in jeopardy?
Despite coming into the season with low expectations, the Houston Rockets has gotten off to a solid start. Sure, a record of 6-4 is not too appealing to the eye, yet, suffice to say the Rockets are far from the team that made them a laughing stock a year ago.
Even though it’s too early to call the Rockets contenders, it is never too soon to begin the MVP debate. With all due respect to Russel Westbrook and DeMar DeRozen, James Harden has been the top contender for MVP.
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After a season that saw him shamefully take home the 2016 Shaqtin A Fool MVP, Harden has re-established his superstar status. With the Rockets off and running behind their new point guard. TNT analyst David Aldrige ponders whether Houston’s offense is enough to contend out West?
Houston is now back to square one, with Harden. But there are worse squares to be behind. Through nine games — seven of which have been on the road — Harden has been spectacular. He’s fifth in the league in scoring (30.0 points per game), while leading the league in assists (13.0 apg). For good measure, he’s leading Houston in rebounds (8.0 rpg). The only player in NBA history to lead the league in both categories for a season was the Kansas City Kings’ Tiny Archibald, who averaged 34 points and 11.4 assists in 1972-73. Nor is he being rash with the ball — his current PER of 31.3 is fourth in the league behind Chris Paul (32), Anthony Davis and DeMar DeRozan (each at 31.5).
Much like Aldrige, every NBA analyst has a new profound respect for Harden and his game. Even I must admit that I was wrong about Harden becoming the Rockets’ full-time point guard.
Through the first nine games, Harden, who is coming off back-to-back triple doubles for the first time in his career, is averaging 30 points, eight rebounds and a league-leading 13 assists per contest. Those are insane stats, even by D’Antoni’s standards. After taking over in Houston, D’Antoni did tell Bleacher Report that Harden could lead the league in assists, but he is nonetheless stunned at just how well his new point guard is playing.
Though it may look like there is no stopping The Beard this season, perhaps his legal woes may get in the way of Harden and his historic run.
Malone Jr. said he wrote a post on social media criticizing Harden for charging too much money for his youth basketball camp. Malone said he believes Harden got mad and sent his entourage to beat him up and steal his jewelry. At least four of the men had guns, according to a Houston Police Department spokeswoman.
At the moment, four suspects have been charged in the beating of Malone Jr and Harden’s deposition is set for December 15th.