The new-look Houston Rockets are counting on James Harden to lead their offensive attack next season, and the team has sold the prolific scorer on playing a bit like Steve Nash.
Harden seems undaunted, and says his game already has Nash-ian elements.
The Rockets’ new point guard recently agreed to a four-year, $118 million contract extension.
(GM Daryl) Morey pitched new coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system and how (Eric) Gordon and (Ryan) Anderson would fit with Harden in a point guard role. The Rockets showed videos of how Harden could take on a role similar to that of former Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash in a revamped offense. […] Morey wanted to convince Gordon that while Harden is noted for his scoring, he’s also a fantastic passer. Harden finished sixth in the NBA with an average of 18 points a game created by assists, the highest among shooting guards. He also finished sixth in potential assists at 14.3.
The system appealed to Anderson, who said he didn’t get enough open looks in New Orleans, something that someone with his skill set would need to succeed in Houston. Also, when defenses attack Harden, his ability to make clear passes should help someone like Gordon, who can shoot from the outside and create opportunities off the dribble.
“I got a little bit of Nash in me,” Harden said later of the Rockets’ sales pitch. “He had his own pace to the game; that’s what I took out of that. You could never speed him up, you could never make him do anything he didn’t want to do, that’s what separated him from any other point guard at the time, which led to two MVPs.”