James Harden looked just fine as he made his preseason debut Tuesday night.
The Houston Rockets have had plenty of drama surrounding the team during the brief NBA offseason. First came the change in leadership in the front office and on the bench. Then came the swap of Russell Westbrook for John Wall.
Even James Harden demanded a trade, but the Rockets decided there wasn’t a deal they liked enough to make such a move. Thus, Harden decided to take his time in returning to the team. He finally showed up this week and was on the court Tuesday night in preseason action against the San Antonio Spurs.
While plenty of jokes were made about his appearance, his play was clearly not affected by his brief hiatus.
James Harden looks like himself in preseason debut
Harden finished the game with 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting in 21 minutes of action. He went 4-for-5 from the line and also led the team with four assists. That was quite the nice night basically off the street, even if he did show up like this.
The Rockets star looks to be in shape even if the camera doesn’t flatter him. The step-back was working and this appeared to be a normal game from him. So while the jokes are fun, Harden didn’t show up and play like a different person.
His desire to be traded may be a factor to keep an eye on as well, but even though Harden could have continued to stay away from the team and demand a trade, maybe he has decided he just wants to get back on the court and see what happens. Wall is a great addition, and DeMarcus Cousins is now in Houston’s starting rotation as well.
Plenty of players around the NBA may get off to slow starts due to the quick turnaround from Orlando and the unconventional offseason. Harden showing up and scoring in double figures basically off the street is a great sign for Rockets fans who want him to figure things out and stay in town.