Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni hopes that his new point guard, James Harden, averages 15 dimes this season.

The Beard got off to a pretty good start Wednesday night, handing out a career-best 17 assists in the Rockets’ 120-114 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The young Lakers backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson combined for 45 points.

Per Bleacher Report:

Harden loved passing this preseason so much that D’Antoni expressed some concern about him not being aggressive enough with his own shooting. Still, D’Antoni foresees a transformation ahead for Harden.

 

“Hopefully, he’ll double his number of assists, and he had seven or eight [7.5] last year,” D’Antoni said. “I hope he can average double that. He’s one of the best passers I’ve been around.”

 

When Harden, who couldn’t remember how many assists he had last season, was told about his coach’s projection, his eyes widened under those thick eyebrows. […] “Coach trippin’,” he said. “Coach trippin’.”

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