Houston Rockets star James Harden will be switching positions this year.
He will become the team’s full-time point guard for the 2016-2017 season, per new Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Both Harden and D’Antoni are stressing that the position switch isn’t a major change for Harden, who averaged career-high 7.5 assists last year while also posting the highest points per game average of his career (29) and highest usage rate. (32.5%)
Harden told reporters at Houston’s media day that he still expects to be guarded by shooting guards on defense, meaning that his biggest role in the Rockets offense will be to spread the floor for his teammates to make shooting easier:
“Just a lot of trust. My teammates trust in me to make the right decision whether its scoring or whether its making a play,” Harden said. “We have a lot of guys who are more than capable to create and knock down shots and that’s what is going to open our floor. A lot more guys are going to get open shots left and right.”
D’Antoni believes that this will help bring out the best play making in Harden – who has been the main source of offense on the Rockets the past couple of years:
“He’s more or less responsible giving rhythm to the team, that’s what a point guard does,” D’Antoni said. “He’s going to be on the ball and he’s going to be distributing the ball and it will take some adjusting. He’s got a lot more responsibilities as a point guard. A playcaller, a good basketball mind, he’s already telling guys we can do this we can do that.”
Patrick Beverley will likely move to a bench role to back-up Harden at point guard, while the Rockets projected starting lineup is expected to be Harden at the point, Eric Gordon at shooting guard, Trevor Ariza at small forward, Ryan Anderson at power froward, and Clint Capela at center.
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