James Harden finished runner-up to Russell Westbrook in the MVP race this past season after posting mind-numbingly impressive offensive numbers for the Rockets in 2016-17. While that was a bit of a disappointment, Harden also a new, record-setting extension to keep him in Houston for the foreseeable future and has a new star teammate in the backcourt in Chris Paul.
All-in-all, it’s been a good summer for the Rockets star and he appears ready to get back to a focus on basketball as he popped up at the famed Drew League in Los Angeles over the weekend, to do what he does best: get buckets.
Harden went out and dominated as one would expect him to in a pro-am competition, showing off the range, passing ability, and creativity at the rim — all while rocking the short shorts.
The thing that’s always the most astonishing thing when you get to see pro ballers playing against amateurs — and the amateurs at The Drew are really good — is how much bigger they are. Harden wouldn’t be considered an especially big NBA player, but his size and strength is on display in this environment, as he’s significantly bulkier than most any non-frontcourt player on the floor.
Harden’s strength is one of the underrated aspects of his game — and is a big reason he’s so good at absorbing contact and still finishing at the rim — and that, along with his speed at that size, is really amplified in a situation like this.