Found June 23, 2013 on
Once apart of a great young core in OKC, Harden took on the same role as Durant as the leader of Houston.
In 2012, the Oklahoma City Thunder ended a great season in the Finals to the champion Miami Heat. Although the series count of 4-1 does not illustrate exactly how competitive the series was, it was more than obvious that the Thunder were about one move away from dethroning the Heat and capturing the 2013 title. Honestly, not many suspected that their supposedly “championship move” would involve trading away the 2012 Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden. But at first, this move seemed to make all the sense as Harden disappointed Thunder nation as he played his worse basketball of the season in the Finals.
After seeing him do so poorly, people inside and outside of the Thunder organization took the quick eye test closely focusing on his performance in the Finals and decided that Westbrook and Durant could guide the ship themselves. On the other hand, the bearded ball player brought a lot to the table for this team. James Harden brought those intangibles to the floor that you just could not teach. The starting point guard was of course Russell Westbrook. However, the best option to run and control the team was James Harden. Coach Scott Brooks loved the versatility of Harden. Most times Scott Brooks would bring Harden off the bench to run point guard for the first team, which slides Westbrook to the shooting guard. This allowed Westbrook to play his natural position and just look to score. Harden’s advantage was that he could still score just as well as anyone else in the league. He has a knack of getting to the rim and drawing fouls and becomes deadly as a three-point shooter. Brooks usually inserted Harden into the scoring role with the second team in which he also flourished.
So, was it really the best decision to have traded off James Harden to begin with? Let us evaluate this. Harden averaged 16.8 points per game, nearly 4 rebounds and about 4 assists off the bench. What separated Harden the most from other players coming off the bench in the entire league was his ability to show glimpses as a potential star in the league at times. He is a strong guard that never plays selfishly and always keeps on the attack. He could spread the floor with his ability to also knock down the trifecta.
In the trade with Houston, the Thunder sent off James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, and Lazar Hayward for 2 first round picks, a second round pick, Kevin Martin, and Jeremy Lamb. The player projected to come in and fill in Harden’s position as sixth man was the awkward shooting Kevin Martin. Martin came in and the Thunder did not seem to miss Harden at all, as they captured the regular season number 1 seed in the West and Martin averaged 14.0 points a game.
Sports always find its way to work things out in the craziest of ways. After the trade and an 82 game season, the Rockets of course matched up with the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. This matchup gained a lot more attention after the first game due to a freak injury to Russell Westbrook. This injury caused him to be out for the rest of the playoffs and quickly mounted pressure on the bench and remaining starters of OKC. One of the players that felt an immense amount of this pressure was Martin. He now had to produce and now had to do it against his former team led by the man he replaced. Yet, many had not imagined this James Harden. Harden was the captain of the Rocket’s ship as he now averaged 26 points a game, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds with multiple 30 point games and 2 40-point performances. Additionally, he also made his first all-star appearance joining his two former OKC teammates. In the series, OKC barely squandered to the second round by winning the series 4-2. Nevertheless, many questions arose due to the inexperience and lack of production from Kevin Martin. He struggled and it was that simple. He had average games whereas Harden looked like the best player on the floor even when Kevin Durant participated in action. However, average would not cut it. Without Westbrook, they needed big performances to help Kevin Durant and Martin struggled to close this gap. The Memphis Grizzlies bounced the Thunder out of the second round but each of the games came down to the final minutes. In reality, for those games to be so close without a top 5 scorer in the league is really not that disappointing. In the immediate present, getting put out the playoffs in 5 games does look bad but the bigger picture tells me that OKC will be just fine when they acquire Westbrook back from his first ever injury.
So ultimately, I believe that OKC made a great trade to bring over Kevin Martin. They will receive great future talent with their first and second round picks. Let us also remember that Westbrook’s injury was the greater reason in why the Thunder took an early exit this year. Granted, many Thunder fans would probably want Harden back after his performances this playoffs compared to Martin’s (and ultimately because they loved Harden) but the Martin deal has a bright future. They were the number one seed in the West. Additionally, their win percentage increased slightly from the lockout season in which they reached the Finals. Harden loved OKC but I also believe he wanted to move on and show others the real and complete James Harden. The trade worked for the better for both teams yet expectations are even higher now for the Thunder to reach the Finals again especially considering that the window has now closed upon the San Antonio Spurs chances of winning a NBA title. In conclusion, the trade seemed to work out really well but hopefully next season the Thunder will be at full force and we can actually measure the real success of the trade.
BEST OF MAXIM
Russell Westbrook may be injured, but that does not mean he has been forgotten by Oklahoma City Thunder fans. In fact, one fan even enlisted the Thunder guard’s help with a marriage proposal. Charlie Bright, who is a recent Oklahoma graduate and huge Thunder fan, reached out to Westbrook with a Facebook message last week [...]
Fashion has become a big part of the NBA these days -- especially for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant always like to show off their style off the court, but there's another OKC player to look out for.
Thunder reserve shooting guard Jeremy Lamb let the world know this week his attire was getting attention long before his superstar teammates. ...
As expected, NBA superstar Kevin Durant has inked a deal with Jay-Z's new sports representation agency, making him the company's highest profile client by far.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are unquestionably one of the best teams in the NBA. They were considered a lock for at least the Western Conference Finals berth again for the 2013 season and possibly competing to rewrite last season’s defeat to the Heat in the Finals. At the end of the day, even the best can use improvement. OKC has a few holes they could fill so that they are not exposed...
Thunder big man Serge Ibaka was spotted out in Atlanta with his boo, singer Keri Hilson. The two hit up Prive in Atlanta on Friday.
Cute couple, looks like they had a great time. Also on hand, singer and Diddy’s girl, Cassie, Fabolous and VH1 reality stars,TI and Tiny.
photos via KeriHilson.net
For those of you trying to figure out a creative way to propose marriage to that special someone, you might want to take a page out of a Oklahoma City Thunder fan who used star guard Russell Westbrook to help propose to his girlfriend.
A recent University of Oklahoma graduate Charlie Bright got in touch with Westbrook to put together the engagement plan for his girlfriend, Rachel...
The Oklahoma City Thunder may have seen their season end a little too soon when Russell Westbrook saw his season, well--end too soon. That hasn't stopped the popular point guard from being a fan's player though. he proved that when he helped a fan propose by popping the question for him over Twitter.
According to the Daily Thunder, Charlie Bright took Rachel Haycraft...
Kevin Durant announced he has officially signed with Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports agency.
Durant left Landmark Sports earlier this month.
"Grateful for the opportunity with Roc Nation Sports. It's go time," Durant said in a statement posted with a picture of him and Jay-Z officially signing together.
"He has a 90.5 free throw shooting rate, the youngest player...
Somewhere between wondering how good Steven Adams might be and worrying if Kelly Olynyk can possibly be strong enough to replace Kendrick Perkins is Russell Westbrook.
The NBA draft is Thursday night and the Thunder have the No. 12 pick, but more importantly than who, what position, and playing the, "If-only" game about the future possibilities and probabilities...
Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook helped a fan propose to his girlfriend in a spectacularly coordinated Twitter effort.
Last week Jay-Z became a licensed NBA Agent and this week his makes his biggest splash to date with Roc Sports Nation.
Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant has confirmed that he has signed on board with Jay-Z. Durant took to Instagram to post of photo of confirming what has been speculated for some time.
The post Kevin Durant Officially Joins Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports appeared...
It’s not often that you get to see a current NBA player grace the pages of a WalMart catalogue but back in the day, Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Jeremy Lamb got that honor.
Check out the image of a young Jeremy modeling some “Rustler Relaxed Fit Jeans”:
Image courtesy of Jeremy Lamb Instagram
It’s just different now. Roc Nation Sports is gobbling up the competition. The sports agency has signed their first NBA client, Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Rihanna even shouted him out on Instagram. See, that’s part of the allure of Roc Nation Sports. Shout outs from some of the baddest chicks in the game, rocking out with your favorite rappers, favorite rapper and throwing up the diamond.
Jay Z is putting the sports world on notice.