Mike D’Antoni: James Harden Could Average ‘Close to 40’ Points

James Harden can average “close to 40” points a game, according to Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.

D’Antoni says Harden is prepared and eager to once again carry his typically large burden for Houston.

Harden led the NBA in scoring last season with an incredible 36.1 points a night.

Per The Houston Chronicle:

“We can win games this way,” D’Antoni said. “It’s just the way he is. He’ll do what it takes to win. Here’s a guy, he didn’t have to play. It’s preseason. He doesn’t have to start the season like this. But you know he wants to. He has that edge. He’s got that gene. Whenever he plays, he’s going to give us a chance. Whenever he plays, games or practice, he’s all business.

“He loves to play. He’s going to play. I don’t know if you can tone that down. I wouldn’t want to, anyway. It’s like, he didn’t have to do that. Well, that’s how he plays. Every year he gets better. Every year his scoring average goes up. If that continues, he’ll get up to close to 40. It’s what he does.”

Harden’s 173 preseason minutes led the NBA, as did his 31.2 points per game. Judging from the way Harden began and completed the preseason, he seemed to need the work to be ready for what appears to be necessary when the games count.

“It was great,” Harden said. “Preseason is over with. Now it’s onto the real thing. It’s going to be a long season of trying to communicate and be on the same page. Not only just me and Russ (Westbrook) but our entire team. This preseason was a good test for us. Now we’re onto the real challenge.”

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