“Don’t Think Anybody Saw That Coming”: Former NBA Champion Lauds James Harden for His Rise

Published 10/18/2020, 11:30 AM EDT
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after getting called for a foul in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


James Harden is all over the news due to speculations about a possible trade away from the Rockets franchise. Harden came to Houston in 2012, right after making it to the NBA finals with OKC. We all know how good Harden is at the moment. But few predicted him to reach this level, as he was just a bench player with OKC.

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James Harden spent three seasons at Oklahoma City, and he started just seven games during that tenure. He was, however, extremely effective from the bench and won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2012. 

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The same year, a young and promising OKC team reached the finals, where they were schooled by the Miami Heat. Chris Bosh was a winning player in the Heat team, and he recently joined Shannon Sharpe’sClub Shay Shay to have a casual chat about the league. 

During a moment in the episode, Bosh and Sharpe were discussing the 2012 finals. Of course, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook spearheaded the team, but James Harden stood out as a bench scorer. 

Was James Harden underestimated during his OKC days?

Right now, James Harden is the best scorer in the league. One can let out that statement boldly as Harden has won three successive scoring titles from 2017-20. But people undervalued Harden and did not expect him to go on and achieve scoring titles when was with OKC.

Chris Bosh reflected on Harden’s move to Houston and how he viewed him as a player when they met each other during the finals in 2012. Did Chris Bosh know back then that Harden would turn out to be one of the best?

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“No,” Bosh answered with a smile. “We knew it’s like ‘Yo he’s going to be he’s cold, he’s bad he can be a franchise player somewhere else,” he said. “The things he’s been able to do I mean he’s inspired he’s done a whole other thing with the game of basketball that nobody else has seen before.”

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“I don’t think anybody saw that coming,” Bosh revealed. “I think he gained his confidence and then with whatever that crazy creativity that he’s got in his brain, he started figuring things out and it’s like oh wow, I can do this.”

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This is just another classic example of James Harden defying his critics. From just starting five games a season, ‘The Beard’ has now evolved as one of the very best. 

Chris Bosh frankly put forth that people didn’t see this coming from Harden. Long-time NBA fans would know how far James Harden has come since his OKC days. He wasn’t viewed as a starter then, but he has been the cornerstone of the Rockets franchise for several years running. 

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Arjun Athreya

2176 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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