The man with the best facial hair in the NBA if not all of professional sports, James Harden, looks to have an expanded role for the Oklahoma City Thunder once their 2011-12 season commences in the Sooner State on Christmas Day.
A 6-foot-5, 22-year-old guard who was the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, he has spent each of his first two seasons in the Association in primarily a sixth man role for the Thunder.
He comes off a season where he hit the floor for all 82 regular-season games, including five starts and averaged 12.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Harden was one of the first if not the primary option off the pine for OKC head coach Scott Brooks last season, one that ended with the Thunder advancing to the Western Conference Finals, where they fell to eventual league titleholder.
But with Thabo Sefolosha, a defensive whiz who doesn't contribute much on the offensive end of the floor, likely headed to the bench, that means this ex-Arizona State Sun ...