With Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant teaming up in Golden State, there might be room for a new player at the top of the Fantasy world, and James Harden is certainly worth a look with the No. 1 pick. He is already coming off a season in which he averaged 29.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.9 3-pointers and 1.7 steals per game, and now gets to play in Mike D'Antoni's offense, which has been like steroids for Fantasy numbers in the past. The Rockets don't have that much room to play faster, but D'Antoni always spaces the floor well and puts his ballhandlers in good position, so Harden might even see a boost in assists from his new coach's gameplan. Harden turns the ball over a bit too much, but he is helpful pretty much everywhere else, and might just be the safest choice for the No. 1 spot on Draft Day.
Harden generated 34 points (9-19 FG, 1-7 3Pt, 15-16 FT) and a career-high 17 assists to go with eight rebounds and one steal across 37 minutes in Wednesday's 120-114 loss to the Lakers. Harden and his teammates' second-half struggles from three-point range ended up proving costly in the season opener, but the 27-year-old's stat line illustrated why the fantasy industry is so bullish on his prospects in his first season in new coach Mike D'Antoni's offense. The full-time move to point guard immediately paid dividends in the assist column, and Harden still managed to get his points while making his living at the free-throw line. Assuming the Rockets stick with Harden as their full-time ball-handler even once Patrick Beverley (knee) returns, his potential is limitless, especially in eight-category leagues. The seven turnovers he tallied Wednesday figure to be a common occurrence, and will have more negative consequences in nine-category leagues.
Harden will not play in Friday's preseason finale against the Spurs due to rest purposes, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle reports. The Rockets are resting four of their starters, with Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon all out to rest as well with the start of the regular season just five days away. Look for head coach Mike D'Antoni to use this as an opportunity to take a good look at some of the young players on the team and both Tyler Ennis and Gary Payton to get extended run at point guard in Harden's absence.
Harden recorded 14 points (2-6 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 10-10 FT), 10 rebounds, nine assists and one steal across 28 minutes in Saturday's 134-125 double-overtime loss to the Grizzlies. Harden fell just short of a triple-double while playing less than full workload, but he figures to achieve that feat plenty of times during the regular season as he transitions to more of an on-the-ball role in 2016-17. The added responsibilities at point guard could lead to a reduction in shot attempts and a spike in his turnover rate, but he'll make up for it with a big uptick in his assist count. Harden averaged 7.5 assists per game last season, but has exceeded that number in all five of his preseason appearances.
Harden compiled 26 points (6-18 FG, 3-9 3Pt, 11-12 FT), 15 assists, seven rebounds and two steals across 37 minutes in Sunday's 123-117 win over the Pelicans. With Patrick Beverley (knee) still sidelined, Harden made the start at point guard and saw extended minutes as both teams made a concerted effort to field their best lineup in an exhibition game that was held in Shanghai, China. Harden certainly looked the part of a capable playmaker in this one, as he was able to post a gaudy assist total while still getting to the free-throw line at his usual high rate. He wasn't without his warts, however, shooting just 33.3 percent from the field while turning the ball over eight times. Harden's turnover problems won't go away as he assumes more ball-handling responsibilities during his first season in coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system, but among guards, only the Thunder's Russell Westbrook can rival the huge numbers he'll post in other categories. Harden looks like a great first-round building block in just about every format, and there could be a case for him to go No. 1 overall in eight-category leagues where turnovers are excluded.
Harden scored 28 points (7-11 FG, 4-8 3Pt, 10-12 FT) to go with 11 assists and six rebounds in Monday's preseason win over the Knicks. Harden was in vintage form, as he filled up the stat sheet while playing 30 minutes, a fairly high preseason total for a player of his caliber. The Rockets will likely monitor Harden's workload over the next few weeks, as he's expected to be among the league's most heavily used players during the regular season.
Rank Among Leaders
|3 Year Avg||79||635||44.4||207||36.6||670||86.5||2148||27.19||44.6|