James Harden

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James Harden
James Harden Rockets cropped.jpg
Harden with the Houston Rockets
No. 13 – Houston Rockets
PositionShooting guard
Personal information
Born(1989-08-26) August 26, 1989 (age 25)
Los Angeles, California
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High schoolArtesia (Lakewood, California)
CollegeArizona State (2007–2009)
NBA draft2009 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder
Pro career2009–present
Career history
20092012Oklahoma City Thunder
2012–presentHouston Rockets
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
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For other people named James Harden, see James Harden (disambiguation).
James Harden
James Harden Rockets cropped.jpg
Harden with the Houston Rockets
No. 13 – Houston Rockets
PositionShooting guard
Personal information
Born(1989-08-26) August 26, 1989 (age 25)
Los Angeles, California
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High schoolArtesia (Lakewood, California)
CollegeArizona State (2007–2009)
NBA draft2009 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder
Pro career2009–present
Career history
20092012Oklahoma City Thunder
2012–presentHouston Rockets
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

James Edward Harden, Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Harden played college basketball for Arizona State, where he was named a consensus All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009. Harden was selected with the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by Oklahoma City and became the first player drafted in Oklahoma City Thunder franchise history.[1] In 2012, he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Oklahoma City Thunder while helping them reach the NBA Finals. Harden was traded to Houston prior to the 2012–13 NBA season.

Harden is a two-time member of the United States national basketball team, winning gold medals in both the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 FIBA World Cup.

High school career

Harden attended Artesia High School in Lakewood, California. In his sophomore year, he averaged 13.2 points as Artesia went 28–5. He improved his stats to 18.8 points, 7.7 boards and 3.5 assists in his junior season and led Artesia to the California state title and a 33–1 record. Artesia repeated as state champions in Harden's final year after going 33–2. Harden had similar stats as during the previous season: 18.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He was named a Parade and McDonald's All-American.

He also helped his AAU team, Pump-N-Run Elite, to the 2006 Las Vegas Adidas Super 64 championship.[2] Harden had 34 points in the victory over a DC Assault team which included Michael Beasley, Nolan Smith and Austin Freeman. In the game against Houston Hoops, played on the same day, Harden had 33 points. In the final, Pump-N-Run Elite beat Kevin Love's Southern California All-Stars.

College career

Arizona State
Left: Harden makes contact with Alfred Aboya inside; Right: Harden on defense

Arizona State was picked to finish 9th in the Pac-10 Conference.[3] Due to the help of Harden's average of 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists, the Sun Devils went 21–13 (9–9) and finished tied for 5th in the Pac-10. They were considered a bubble team for the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Left out of the NCAA tournament, they were selected to the 2008 NIT field and defeated Alabama State and Southern Illinois before falling to defending national champion Florida.

After his freshman year, Harden was named first team All-Pac-10 and was named to the conference all-freshman team.[4] Harden was also named first team All-District by the NABC and the USBWA.

Entering his sophomore year, Harden appeared on many pre-season All-American lists and appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated college basketball preview issue. He was named to the Wooden Award preseason watch list.[5] On November 30, 2008, Harden scored a career-high 40 points in an 88–58 victory over UTEP.[6]

Harden finished his sophomore campaign with averages of 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. He was named to the 2009 All-Pac 10 Tournament Team following Arizona State's defeat by USC at the Staples Center.[7] Following the conference season, Harden was named the Pacific-10 Conference's Player of the Year.[8] He was also named a consensus All-American. After the conclusion of the season (a second-round NCAA tournament loss to Syracuse), Harden declared for the 2009 NBA Draft.[9] He employed Rob Pelinka as his agent.[10]

College statistics

2007–08Arizona State343334.1.527.407.7545.
2008–09Arizona State353535.8.489.356.7565.

NBA career

Oklahoma City Thunder (2009–2012)

Harden with the Oklahoma City Thunder
Harden with the Thunder in 2011

Harden was drafted 3rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. This made him the first player to be drafted by the franchise as the Oklahoma City Thunder. The franchise last entered the 2008 NBA Draft as the Seattle SuperSonics. In his first NBA season, Harden averaged 9.9 points in 22.9 minutes per game. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. In his second year, he played all 82 games of the regular season, averaging 12.2 points per game. In the playoffs, he averaged 13 points per game, shooting over 47% from the field.

On April 18, 2012, Harden scored a then career-high 40 points in a 109–97 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Four days later against the Los Angeles Lakers, Harden suffered a concussion after being elbowed by the Lakers' Metta World Peace, who was celebrating a dunk. World Peace was ejected, and was later suspended for seven games by the league.[11][12] Harden returned for the first game of the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.[13]

Harden ended the 2011–12 season averaging 16.8 points per game off the bench which led all NBA reserves.[14] He was then named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year, becoming the second youngest player ever to win the award. He was one of the most efficient scorers in the league, finishing second in both true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage, posting a .660 TS% and .582 eFG%. Harden helped the Thunder reach the 2012 NBA Finals where they lost to the Miami Heat. During the free agency period, Oklahoma City attempted to sign Harden to a four-year contract extension worth between $52 and $55 million.[15][16]

Houston Rockets (2012–present)

2012–13 season

James Harden (left) and Kevin Durant during the 2013 NBA playoffs.

After failing to agree on a contract extension with the Thunder, Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets, along with Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich, and Lazar Hayward, for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first round picks and a second round pick.[16] Rockets general manager Daryl Morey called Harden a "foundational" player and expected him to be Houston's featured player despite previously only playing a supporting role behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.[17] On October 31, he signed a contract extension with the Houston Rockets for five years worth $80 million.[18] In the Rockets 2012–13 season opener, Harden had 37 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. His 37 points tied for the second most for an NBA player in his debut with a new team, and was the first player with at least 37 points and 12 assists in his debut. On November 2, 2012, he scored a then career-high 45 points in a win against the Atlanta Hawks. Following the first week of the season, Harden was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for the first time.[19]

On December 27, 2012, Harden scored 30 points, including 17 in the 4th quarter and 15 of the final 17 points for the Rockets, to lead a comeback victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.[20] Harden was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time for games played between December 30 and January 6 after averaging 29.3 points, 5.5 assists, and leading the Rockets to a perfect 4–0 week.[21] On January 10, 2013, during a loss to the New Orleans Hornets, Harden scored 25 points for the 14th consecutive game, breaking the Rockets' franchise record previously held by Hall of Famer Moses Malone.[22] Harden was subsequently selected to his first All-Star game in 2013 as a reserve for the Western Conference, where he teamed up with former teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He went on to score 15 points in the game.

On February 2, 2013, Harden recorded his first career triple-double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats.[23][24] On February 20, 2013, Harden scored a career-high 46 points in Houston's 122–119 win over his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.[25]

Harden finished his first season with the Rockets with career-highs in many statistical categories after he averaged 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. He led the Rockets to a 45–37 record overall and the team made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2008–09 as the #8 seed. In the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the Rockets were pitted against the #1 seed in the west, the Oklahoma City Thunder. In Game 5, he scored 31 points while going 7-of-9 from three-point range despite playing with flu-like symptoms. The Rockets went on to lose the series in six games. Harden averaged 26.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2 steals in the series. On May 23, 2013, Harden was named to the All-NBA Third Team for the first time.

2013–14 season

With the Rockets' signing of center Dwight Howard in the offseason, Harden was able to team-up with another All-Star to bring the Rockets back into contention. After earning his second All-Star selection as a reserve for the Western Conference in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game held on February 16, Harden went on to score a season-high 43 points on 11-of-20 shooting in a 129–103 win over the Sacramento Kings on February 25.[26] The Rockets finished the 2013–14 season with a 54–28 record, earning the 4th seed in the Western Conference playoffs. In the Rockets' first round loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Harden averaged 26.8 points, 5.8 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.[27] On June 4, he was named to the 2014 All-NBA first team.[28]

2014–15 season

On December 13, 2014, Harden recorded his third career triple-double with 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in a 108–96 win over the Denver Nuggets.[29] Nine days later, he scored a then season-high 44 points in a 110–95 win over the Portland Trail Blazers[30] as he continued to stake his claim as an early contender for the 2014–15 MVP award heading into Christmas.[31] On December 31, he recorded a career-high 8 made three-pointers as he scored 36 points to help lead the Rockets to a 102–83 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.[32]

On February 8, 2015, Harden tied a season-high 45 points in a 98–109 loss to Portland.[33] Two days later, he recorded his second straight 40-point game, and his sixth of the year, as he led the Rockets to a 127–118 win over the Phoenix Suns.[34] On February 23, he recorded his second triple-double of the season with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the 113–102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.[35]

On March 2, 2015, the NBA suspended Harden for one game for kicking LeBron James in the groin during a 105–103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.[36] On March 6, Harden recorded 38 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his third triple-double of the season as the Rockets snapped a two-game skid with a 103–93 win over the Detroit Pistons.[37]

Player profile

With season averages of over 26 points per game since the 2012–13 season, Harden is considered one of the most versatile and dangerous scorers in the NBA.[38] He possesses a wide array of offensive moves, the two most prominent among them being his Euro step[39] and his step-back jumper.[40] He has also gained notoriety for his ability to exploit league rules in order to more efficiently draw fouls and get to the free throw line, from which he is a career 84.9% shooter.[41][42] Though primarily a scorer, he is also known for his playmaking ability, orchestrating the Rockets' offense[43] with his elevated assist numbers. As of the 2014–15 season, he leads the league in assists that lead to three-point shots.[44][45]

While he has garnered acclaim for his prowess on the offensive end, Harden has built a reputation as a poor defender. Criticism of his defense intensified in early 2014, when a video titled "James Harden: Defensive Juggernaut" featuring eleven minutes worth of clips of Harden conceding field goals, was circulated on the Internet.[46] During the 2014 offseason, he committed to an improvement on defense, which manifested as early as August of that year as a member of the United States men's national basketball team.[47] His improved defense has carried over to the following season, and has been cited as a major reason for the Rockets' regular season success.[48]

International career

Harden with Team USA at the 2014 World Basketball Festival

Harden was a member of the United States men's national basketball team that won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, and was also a member of the team that won the World Cup in 2014.

NBA career statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG% Field goal percentage 3P% 3-point field goal percentage FT% Free throw percentage
 RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game
 BPG Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high

Regular season

2009–10Oklahoma City76022.9.403.375.8083.
2010–11Oklahoma City82526.7.436.349.8433.
2011–12Oklahoma City62231.4.491.390.8464.


2010Oklahoma City6020.0.387.375.8422.
2011Oklahoma City17031.6.475.303.8255.
2012Oklahoma City20031.5.435.410.8575.

Personal life

Harden is a Christian.[49][50] Harden has talked about his faith saying, "I just want to thank God for everything he has done in my life."[51]

Harden started growing his trademark beard in 2009 after being too lazy to shave.[52] His beard has appeared in songs and on T-shirts.[53][54] The James Harden Illustrated project, by designer Filip Peraić, is about illustrating the bearded profile of James Harden in various of styles and techniques.[55]

See also


  1. ^ Bradley, Bill. – "Leading Off". – The Sacramento Bee. – January 21, 2009.
  2. ^ Sorting Out A Zillion Players In Vegas
  3. ^ UCLA Picked To Defend Pac-10 Title in 2007–08
  4. ^ 2007–08 Men's Basketball All-Conference Honors Announced
  5. ^ John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List
  6. ^ Boxscore – Arizona State vs. UTEP 11/20/08
  7. ^ Pac-10 All-Tournament Team
  8. ^ Haller, Doug (March 9, 2009). "Harden named Pac-10 Player of Year". Azcentral.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04. 
  9. ^ James Harden Declares Entry to NBA Draft
  10. ^ "James Harden". DraftExpress LLC. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  11. ^ "Lakers rally for 2OT win after Metta World Peace ejected for vicious elbow". ESPN.com. April 22, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Metta World Peace suspended for 7". ESPN.com. April 24, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  13. ^ Jeff Latzke (April 30, 2012). "Durant's winner lifts Thunder past Mavs, 99–98". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Thunder's James Harden wins Kia Sixth Man Award" (Press release). NBA. May 10, 2012. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ Windhorst, Brian (October 28, 2012). "Heat: OKC deal alters West balance". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Mayberry, Darnell (October 27, 2012). "Oklahoma City Thunder trades James Harden to Houston". newsok.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. 
  17. ^ "GM: James Harden is 'foundational'". ESPN. October 29, 2012. 
  18. ^ "James Harden gets $80 million". ESPN.com. Associated Press. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. 
  19. ^ James Harden named NBA Player of the Week
  20. ^ James Harden lifts Rockets over Timberwolves
  21. ^ James Harden named Western Conference Player of the Week
  22. ^ James Harden's Record-Setting Streak Not Enough to Keep Rockets Winning
  23. ^ Harden gets triple-double as Rockets beat Bobcats
  24. ^ Bobcats at Rockets
  25. ^ Harden scores 46, Rockets rally past Thunder
  26. ^ Notebook: Rockets 129, Kings 103
  27. ^ James Harden 2013–14 Game Log
  28. ^ Durant, LeBron headline 2013–14 All-NBA First Team
  29. ^ Howard, Harden lead Rockets over Nuggets, 108–96
  30. ^ Harden's 44 lead Rockets over Blazers, 110–95
  31. ^ James Harden keeps making his case for MVP
  32. ^ Harden leads Rockets over Charlotte 102–83
  33. ^ Aldridge scores 24 as Portland beats Houston 109-98
  34. ^ Harden has 20 points in 4th quarter, Rockets beat Suns
  35. ^ Harden's triple-double helps Rockets over Wolves, 113-102
  36. ^ "James Harden suspended 1 game". ESPN.com. March 2, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  37. ^ Harden's triple-double leads Rockets over Pistons 103-93
  38. ^ Lakers Preview: 10 Things to Know About the Rockets
  39. ^ "The Future of Basketball Is Here, and It Looks a Lot Like James Harden". Grantland.com. January 7, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  40. ^ Houston Rockets: James Harden's Unstoppable Step-Back Jumper
  41. ^ "CourtVision: James Harden and the Amazing Technicolor Foul Shot". Grantland.com. January 7, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  42. ^ Richman, Mike (March 10, 2015). "Trail Blazers prepare for Houston Rockets, 'crafty' attack of James Harden". OregonLive.com. 
  43. ^ "Dwight Howard Injury Gives James Harden Chance to Swing NBA MVP Race". Bleacher Report. February 3, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  44. ^ "The Future of Basketball Is Here, and It Looks a Lot Like James Harden". Grantland.com. January 7, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  45. ^ "James Harden’s Holy Mountain: How the Rocket Man Creates 3-Pointers". Grantland.com. March 13, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  46. ^ "Here Are 11 Minutes of James Harden Playing Terrible, Awful Defense". Bleacher Report. April 18, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  47. ^ Report: James Harden’s Defense Impressing With Team USA
  48. ^ "James Harden's Defense Keys Houston Rockets' Hot Start (No Really)". Bleacher Report. November 14, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  49. ^ "James Harden". 
  50. ^ "James Harden". 
  51. ^ "James Harden Wanted Time to Pray Before Leaving OKC". 
  52. ^ Thamel, Pete (March 20, 2009). "James Harden’s Style at Guard Masks His Ability at Arizona State". The New York Times. p. B13. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. 
  53. ^ Beck, Howard (May 27, 2012). "Standing Out and Blending In". The New York Times. p. SP7. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. 
  54. ^ Kerby, Trey (December 20, 2011). "Get your very own James Harden beard thanks to this t-shirt". TheScore.com (Score Media Inc). Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. 
  55. ^ "James Harden Illustrated Project". 

External links