This is a fun repost, from back in July 2016, before the Rockets had hit the hardwood under Mike D’Antoni, but after they had made their signings of Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson official. We take it for granted now, but recall that the notion of James Harden at point guard was at one point subject to debate.
As you all know, I’ve been writing since last season about the prospect of making James Harden the full-time point guard of this team. To respond to the inquiries of many of you on Twitter: the significance in a positional change for Harden is not about Harden himself, but rather about who he plays beside and about the offense as a whole. The distinction as to whether Harden is the actual point guard or just serving as one is not of relevance – he’ll function roughly the same within the offense. But if he’s bringing the ball up too, it frees the team to start an actual shooting guard beside him, like Eric Gordon, rather than someone who can just passably hit open 3’s, like Patrick Beverley. It makes the offense that much more dangerous.
This is Occam’s razor. Harden at point guard, given his propensity to dominate the ball [and get great results for his team doing it] was always the most logical choice. In fact, it was almost too logical. But it took a basketball revolutionary in D’Antoni to make it a reality.
Recall that Gordon actually started beside Harden in 2016, before Beverley returned from injury, with great results. And of course when Houston added the purest of point guards this year in Chris Paul, Harden still brought the ball up when the two shared the court. And they blew the whole league away. It’s safe to say that in the backcourt, the Rockets have finally found their perfect formula.