NBA Writer: I'm A James Harden "Convert"

Sam Amick always had mixed feelings about James Harden's game. This season has changed that.

Reiter Than You
January 25, 2019 - 9:14 am

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James Harden is in the midst of a historic scoring streak, having scored 30+ points in 21 straight games. He’s also averaging 52.2 points over his last five games.

“He’s on fire, man, and it’s been wild,” The Athletic senior NBA writer Sam Amick said on Reiter Than You. “I’m a convert from the standpoint of I’ve always appreciated James’ game, but I was probably in that camp of (not liking him) getting to the line so much and (not liking) the aesthetics of it. This season has effectively taken me out of that space, and I’m just trying to appreciate what he’s doing. The guy’s incredible. It’s historic, but it’s also unique. It’s not like Michael Jordan 2.0 or Kobe 2.0 or Wilt. It’s its own thing. The way he does it is remarkable – and it’s fun to watch.”

Still, even with Harden’s heroics, the Rockets (27-20) are fifth in a crowded Western Conference and have already lost more games this season than they did all of last season (17).

Is this team a legit championship contender?

“If I’m handicapping it right now, collectively, I like Denver better, I like Oklahoma City better, I like Utah better,” Amick said. “So, yeah, it’s a very fair question to raise about Houston and who they are collectively still. It looks like they’re probably going to get Chris Paul back in the next couple of games, but they just have had so many moving parts. I still think they have a ways to go to be anything close to what they were last year.”