|Before And After Beard|
Harden, as usual, didn't say much: maybe when you've got a beard like that, you just don't have to talk very much. Tonight, he made his debut for Houston, as part of a back court with Jeremy Lin, in a rotation where he's clearly the top option. It was a road game against the Pistons, who aren't the defensive hammers they used to be, but still get after it.
It, um, went well. Scored 37 on 14 of 25 shooting, 4 of 10 from the three point line, and 5 of 6 from the line. Added six boards, 12 assists, 4 steals and a block. (Lin went 12-8-4 on 5 of 12 shooting, by the way.)
Now, one game does not a career make, and Harden (and Houston) will both struggle when faced with better competitors and scouting. Both guards turned it over four times tonight, and as much as I like Chandler Parsons for sneaky fantasy basketball goodness, he's really not going to be on anybody's radar as the guy you have to stop. Houston looked to me to be a competitive but limited .500 team before this trade, and while they are better now, I can't imagine them getting to a higher seed.
But, um, he might be one of the 10 best players in the NBA now.
He's also, gulp, 23.
And Houston just got him for a guy who's never going to sniff that level and a couple of lottery tickets.
Enjoy him, H-Town.
And Thunder Fan?
Try not to spend the rest of Martin's time in your city pining for what he so clearly is not...