James Harden has been the Houston Rockets’ "point guard" for years... But he's listed as the team's shooting... It doesn't matter what you are listed as (In my Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson voice).
During practice Monday, head coach Mike D'Antoni told the world what they already knew.
"Don't camouflage him, might as well just give it to him anyways, we've been doing it anyways," Mike D'Antoni shared on Rockets.com about Harden being the point.
D'Antoni shied away from saying the actual words, “Harden will be the team's point guard,” but he confirmed it every chance he could.
“He doesn’t have to wrestle with people trying to get the ball, he’s got it right from the get-go," D'Antoni said of Harden's new role. "(Now) he doesn’t spend all the energy down there in a wrestling match with people trying to hold him or deny him.”
The ball has always ended up being Harden's, but now it will be his at the start of plays. Harden's true role changes very little; last year he may not have always been the guy bringing the ball up court, but he's been the team's top assist leader and playmaker for years.
Harden's usage last year as a shooting guard was higher than every point guard in the league other than Stephen Curry, and only 0.1 percent separate the two.
Now as the point guard things should get a little better for Harden.
"It's tough especially when you got the best defender every single night trying to wrestle me and deny me and take away the ball from me," James Harden told Rockets.com. "Getting the ball from the beginning of the play and starting the motion is a lot easier on me, and I'm sure it's a lot easier on my teammates as well."
The goal for the Rockets this season is to have as many playmakers on the court as possible. Now with Harden leading the team as the "point guard," it will allow them to have Eric Gordon and Harden on the floor at the same time, which will in term make them very tough to guard.
There’s no indication that this positional reclassification will take Patrick Beverley off the floor, but it’s early in training camp. Clearly, D’Antoni is willing to get creative.
The talk all offseason has been can Harden become Houston's Steve Nash, now we will get a chance to see if he can.
Can someone say 15 assists a game?