The Neverending Story – Via Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Royce White is back with the RGV Vipers. Even though Woj is one of the most trusted names in NBA journalism, the ultimate authority on Royce White is Royce White’s Twitter:
White’s career has had more twists than a season of Smallville, so just go ahead and embrace the fun. Tune in tomorrow!
JHOE (James Harden Over Everything) – James Harden is the Western Conference Player of the Week for the third time this season, because that’s what happens when you stab the best team in the West with a 15-foot dagger. And you’re right, JHOE is pronounced like “Joey.” The H is silent. Surprise! – The Worldwide Leader’s 5-on-5 segment looked at some of the biggest surprises of the season, and Clutch City was a recurring theme.
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com:Houston Rockets. Not only did they add three new starters (not just new to the team, new to the role as full-time starters), they were without without head coach Kevin McHale for a month while he cared for his gravely ill daughter. Yet it all clicked. James Harden stepped into the role of a max contract guy, the team embraced a score-at-all-costs mentality and it has been a winning season.
Matt Cianfrone, Roundball Mining Co.: Houston Rockets. Even after adding Harden right before the season started, the Rockets looked like a lottery team. Instead they are all but settled into the playoffs in a tough Western Conference, and are one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the league thanks to Harden playing at an incredibly high level.
Jeremy Gordon, Brooklyn’s Finest: Houston Rockets, who play like a statistician’s fantasy: plenty of transition offense, free throws, corner 3s and undervalued assets they’ve managed to wring the most from. They’re plain likable, too, with Harden and Jeremy Lin the league’s most affable bros-in-arms. The best seems likely to come.
And Harden got some love as the most pleasantly surprising player:
Cianfrone: James Harden. We all knew Harden was talented but his play for the Rockets has been even better than expected. Switching teams so close to the start of the season is not as easy as Harden has made it look, carrying the Rockets to the playoffs with his elite scoring and passing abilities. I also considered Ty Lawson and Larry Sanders.
For a lot of Houston fans, I think Omer Asik would top this list. He has coupled a huge increase in minutes and usage with a substantial bump in his per-minute scoring and rebounding numbers and a drop in his turnover rate. He’s playing like it’s a contract year right after getting his biggest career contract. Love him.
Dunkface – James Harden’s shot may have won the game on Sunday night, but Greg Smith destroyed a grown man, which deserves some recognition.
What Kind of Party?
It’s a block party, you guys. Happy Tuesday.
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