by Tommy Gimler
Remember that time you cheated on your fat girlfriend with that drunk college coed who wound up being a dead fish in the sack, and then she broke up with you a week later when she found out but before she did it, she let you know that her grandma who passed away three weeks earlier left her $600,000 in her will? And you were left with the thought, “Man, I shouldn’t have done that?” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s how the Oklahoma City Thunder front office feels right about now.
Last year, as a member of the Thunder, Harden was voted the NBA’s Kia Sixth Man of the Year. Not too shabby, except for the fact Harden’s name was attached to the shitty Kia Sorento that was donated on his behalf to the Oklahoma City YWCA.
Turns out Harden is kind of good as a starter, too. Granted, it’s a tiny, Irish prick-like two-game sample, but Harden is proving to be every bit of the franchise player Houston thought he would be and Oklahoma City thought he wouldn’t: 82 points, 63.6 FG%, 13 boards, 14 assists, and 4 steals. More importantly, Harden is doing it averaging 42 minutes per game, a number he reached only twice last year.
I understand the whole salary cap and luxury tax issue surrounding a team like the Thunder playing in Oklahoma City. But maybe Harden was the wrong one to let go. Obviously, signing Kevin Durant to a max deal was a must, but maybe Russell Westbrook was expendable (see Jeremy Lin comment below). And inking Serge Ibaka to a $50 million deal after averaging 9 points and 7.5 boards last season makes about as much sense as casting Ja Rule in any role for the big screen unless it’s a store clerk who gets capped in the first two minutes of the film.
Common sense should tell any NBA fan, even the most casual, that if playing alongside Harden makes Jeremy Lin average 16.5 points, 7.5 assists, and 7.0 rebounds per game, then that is guy I want on my team at any cost. The only downside to the deal for Harden is that he now must reside in what is probably the worst city in America: Houston. Well, unless you like chunky dunking and crime…