While Andre Iguodala provided the remedy for James Harden in Denver’s win in Houston on Wednesday night (which is, in fact, Andre Iguodala), there’s no doubt Harden is this season’s biggest breakout candidate. He was a great per-minute player with Oklahoma City, a Sixth Man of the Year, and one of the most important players on the best team in the Western Conference. But now in Houston where he’s leading the league in scoring (30.3 a night), he should run away with the Most Improved Player of the Year Award (even if we said something different over the summer), as well as a possible All-Star selection.
The Thunder moved on, even as they struggled through their first five games. Kevin Martin is a good fit, providing 18.4 points a night off the bench (more than the Beard ever averaged in OKC) and a 19.29 PER. So has Houston. But while the Rockets now have a bright future with Harden, Jeremy Lin and a stable of young assets, they almost never got their franchise centerpiece. Minnesota wanted Harden too, and they were willing to go all in to get him.
1500ESPN.com writes that while the talks never reached serious discussions, the Wolves “would’ve sacrificed forward Derrick Williams, future first-round picks and more if it came down to it.”
Very interesting. It never went beyond initial talks because OKC was unwilling to make a blockbuster deal within the division, which makes sense because, you know, they would’ve created a beast in Minnesota (and money definitely was a factor because financially, the Houston deal played perfectly into OKC’s hands). The T’Wolves biggest weakness is at the swingman spots, and Harden would’ve taken care of that rather quickly. Adding him to a nucleus of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and anyone else still left over after the deal would’ve turned Minnesota from playoff sleeper to a legitimate threat in the West.
How good would the T’Wolves be with Harden?
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