On Harden, Rivers, Green and House

  • Amidst the recent talk of James Harden not only being the league MVP, but maybe the most gifted offensive player in basketball history, I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately back to the days when the Rockets didn’t even have a single star, and the path to getting one almost felt hopeless. It just feels surreal at times, not unlike what a rich man must feel thinking back to days when he slept on floors before his big payday. As an aside to this, one cannot help but feel regret over the fact that in any other era of time, Houston surely would have won the title just simply by virtue of having the game’s greatest scorer, a point underscored by Harden’s recent dominance. Because that was all you needed in the olden days. A great player and a great supporting cast that filled their roles and played hard-nosed defense and knocked down shots.
  • Austin Rivers has suddenly become one of my most favorite Rockets and that likely goes for you too, dear reader. This is a circumstance which drips of hilarity for no other reason than the simple fact that he was one of the most hated opponents in the league by our fanbase before donning the majestic red. I’m already thinking “is there a way to keep him next year?” and this all proves the point that fandom is incredibly fickle. Anyone can become beloved and in some cases, within a matter of days. That’s why, to put it very crudely, almost all role players are replaceable. I made this point earlier in the year when arguing that the Rockets should part ways with P.J. Tucker if that was the asking price in a trade for Jimmy Butler. Many here were hung up emotionally because of the place Tucker has come to occupy in our hearts. Now Houston may have dodged a bullet in not getting Butler, if the most recent report regarding his discontent over his role in Philadelphia is to be believed. But that’s a separate matter from the issue of an emotional connection to Tucker. Fan favorites are missed…up until the next one comes around and fills the void. Did anyone here pine for Pat Beverley when Chris Paul was helping the Rockets rampage through the league?
  • Danuel House and Gerald Green had an absolutely insane net rating when sharing the court together, even without James Harden there to help. What is it about the two players that makes them so productive? I think its the fact that they can both attack close outs violently off the dribble but also have next to no hesitation shooting the three, even if in House’s case the accuracy leaves something to be desired. I’d venture to guess that House is probably the team’s future at the ‘3’, though I made similar projects at one time about Jermaine Taylor, and most of you reading this are too young to remember his existence. So I’ll pump the brakes there a bit. But the point is that this stint has proven Daryl Morey’s likely belief in the fungible nature of wings.

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