Why A James Harden Reunion Could Harm Houston More Rather Than Help Them

There are persistent rumors regarding James Harden’s return to the Houston Rockets this upcoming offseason. While it may sound like a logical fit for the rebuilding franchise, there are also a lot of cons with the said reunion. For instance, ever since he left the Rockets to form a super team with the Brooklyn Nets a couple of years ago, his play has noticeably regressed. He is visibly out of shape and while there are still nights where he looks like the former MVP, Harden is sadly hastily exiting his prime.

James Harden’s tenure with the Houston Rockets was nothing short of remarkable. From his arrival in 2012 until his departure in 2021, Harden established himself as one of the most dominant and prolific scorers in NBA history. During his time with the Rockets, Harden led the team to several deep playoff runs, but also faced some notable shortcomings.

In the 2017-2018 season, he led the team to the franchise’s first number-one seed since 1994. Despite the consistent regular-season success, Harden’s playoff failures became a subject of scrutiny. In the 2019-2020 season, the Rockets had high hopes, especially with the addition of Russell Westbrook. However, they faced disappointment yet again, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round. 

James Harden’s time with the Houston Rockets was characterized by record-breaking scoring performances and deep playoff runs. He amassed numerous achievements, including winning the MVP award in 2018, becoming an eight-time NBA All-Star, and being named to the All-NBA First Team six times. Despite the lack of a championship, his impact on the franchise cannot be understated, as he helped revitalize the Rockets and establish them as a perennial playoff contender.

While there were reports of Las Vegas trips between games, including the playoffs, his former Brooklyn Nets teammate, Bruce Brown, had nothing but praise for Harden.

The Rockets are currently rebuilding and they have the foundation to do so with the young trio of Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Jabari Smith. They clearly need some veteran presence but with Harden’s history with Houston, he might stunt the growth of these young players rather than enhance them. With Harden’s off-the-court habits and constant partying, a reunion might do more harm than good. While we know that he can slide as the second or third option as he no longer commands the ball as he did before, players like Jalen Green may rely on Harden more to facilitate the offense, which could derail his growth as a young player.

With the right development and head coach, Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun could form one of the best duos in the league for years to come. For the Rockets, let these kids develop on their own sans Harden.

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