After a crazy NBA free agency, top players on different rosters will be demanding the same large amount of money that this year’s free agents received. James Harden is not one of those men. The Houston Rockets and Harden have agreed on an extension. The extension is a four year deal worth $118 million, but does he deserve the money?
Last season in 82 games played, Harden averaged 29.0 points per game, 7.5 assists per game and 6.1 rebounds per game. Harden was a big reason for the Rockets success last season, helping the team make the playoffs. The team would ultimately lose the first round of the playoffs to the Warriors.
Harden is one of the best shooting guards in the league. Harden has a great shot, he can attack the hoop and score in the paint. Harden has been known for averaging over 25 points per season since joining the Rockets. One thing that Harden lacks however, is defense. Defensively, Harden is awful. Harden is a one-dimensional player, great on the offensive side of the ball but bad on the defensive side of the ball.
Being drafted by Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2009 draft, Harden got off to a slow start in the league. While with the Thunder, he was a part of a big three with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. While Durant and Westbrook were leading the Thunder, Harden was known as the teams 3rd option.
Even though Harden was the 3rd option, he was still solid. After the 11-12 season, everything changed for him. In the offseason, the Thunder traded him to the Rockets, who were looking for a starting shooting guard.
When he got traded to the Rockets, Harden was no longer the 3rd option of a team, he was the star player. Harden proved that he had the star player potential averaging 25.9 points per game in the 12-13 season, 25.4 points per game in the 13-14 season, 27.4 points per game in the 14-15 season, and 29.0 points per game last season.
While in Houston, the team expected him to help them win a championship, bringing him help in Dwight Howard, which did not go well. Harden helped lead the Rockets to the playoffs every season since the team traded for him.
After this numbers that he produced last season, it was obvious that he was going to get paid and get paid big time. It was just a matter of time before he would get paid. The Rockets do not want to lose him, so the team had to pay him to superstar money that he wanted.
On the Harden side of things, now that he got paid he will have to prove that he is worth the money that the team just paid him. He will have to continue to average over 25 points per game, and he has to get better on the defensive side of the ball.
At the end of the day, the team knows how valuable Harden is to this team, so even though it is a lot of money, it is worth it for the points that Harden puts up every season. Offensively, he really deserves this money. It will take a year or two before we decide if he deserves the money for being an all around player.
For right now, Harden deserves the money for his offensive numbers that he has been putting up. If anything, Harden needs to improve defensively. If he wants to be a go to all around guy, improvement on defense is a must.
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report