James Harden. James Edward Harden, Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is a shooting guard currently playing for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for Arizona State, where he was named a consensus All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009. Selected with the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by Oklahoma City, he became the first player drafted in Oklahoma City Thunder franchise history. In 2012, he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Oklahoma City Thunder while helping them reach the NBA Finals. Harden was traded to Houston prior to the 2012–13 NBA season.
Harden is a two-time member of the United States national basketball team, winning gold medals in both the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 FIBA World Cup.
With season averages of over 26 points per game since the 2012–13 season, Harden is considered one of the most versatile and dangerous scorers in the NBA. He possesses a wide array of offensive moves; two of the most prominent among them being his Euro step and his step-back jumper. He has also gained notoriety for his ability to exploit league rules in order to more efficiently draw fouls and get to the free throw line, from which he is a career 84.9% shooter. Though primarily a scorer, he is also known for his playmaking ability, orchestrating the Rockets' offense with his elevated assist numbers. In the 2014–15 season, he led the league in assists that lead to three-point shots.
While he has garnered acclaim for his prowess on the offensive end, early on, Harden had a reputation as a poor defender. During the 2014 offseason, he committed to an improvement on defense. This focus on defense manifested itself as early as August of that year when he was a member of the United States men's national basketball team. His improved defense carried over to the following season, and has been cited as a major reason for the Rockets' regular season success.
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