Rockets assistant Irv Roland thinks James Harden has a whole new level to reach
Houston Rockets assistant coach and head of player development Irv Roland recently joined The Athletic for a wide-ranging interview. Amid their discussion, Roland was asked if James Harden can get any better than he already is.
Harden, 29, led the Rockets all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season, where they were defeated by the Golden State Warriors in seven games. Though he’s widely viewed as one of the best players in today’s game, Roland believes Harden still has another gear to grab even after winning MVP.
James is coming off an MVP season. You can argue that he should be a 3-time MVP winner. For someone who has reached the pinnacle of individual accolades, how much better can James get?
I’m biased because I see him every day. I really think he has a whole nother level he can tap into. What that means statistically, what that means for win totals, I don’t know. But what I do know is that there is a whole nother level he could go to.
What is that other level?
I think that efficiency could be better. He’s spent two years here in Mike D’Antoni’s system. From Year 1 to Year 2 he’s gotten better. Chris Paul was efficient last year and took our team to another notch. Chris is gonna be even better this year because he’s gonna be more comfortable. James is gonna even better in our offense this year because his chemistry with Chris is gonna be even better. When you look at when the move was first made, that addition was questioned. ‘How was it gonna work’ and ‘will they be able to play together?’ Now with a year under their belts, together, they’re gonna take our offense even higher.
Harden made 72 appearances with the Rockets during their 2018-19 regular-season campaign, racking up averages of 30.4 points (a career high) on 44.9 percent shooting from the field (36.7 percent from beyond the arc), 8.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 35.4 minutes per outing.
Harden seems to have his foot firmly planted on the gas pedal again this season. In Tuesday’s 128-86 preseason win over the Shanghai Sharks, he knocked down nine 3-pointers en route to 37 points. As a team, the Rockets went 28-of-66 from downtown.
The Rockets will be back in action on Friday night, when they’ll travel to Memphis for a preseason matchup against the Grizzlies. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. ET with NBA TV having live broadcast coverage.
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