The value of James Harden

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As Bill Simmons mentioned in his column today, fans will likely wonder for a long time if Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti made the right call by drafting low-risk shooting guard James Harden with the third overall pick over Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, and Tyreke Evans. Curry and Evans have put up far better numbers than Harden so far, but play the same position as Russell Westbrook, one of the Thunder’s key players. A backcourt featuring any of those three guards alongside Westbrook certainly would have a ton of upside, and could easily have given the Thunder one of the most exciting and dynamic offenses in the league.

However, Harden has been able to come in right away and contribute to an NBA playoff team, which is something that neither Rubio, Curry, or Evans can claim. On Daily Thunder today, J.G. Hastings has a post up that shows how valuable Harden has been to the Thunder, even if he’s been quite a bit less spectacular than some of the point guards the Thunder passed up to draft him. 
As Hastings notes, the Thunder have struggled to get any scoring from their shooting guard spot since Harden went down with an injury, and their bench production has also suffered. Harden hasn’t been incredible in any one area over the course of his short NBA career, and has struggled mightily to finish at the rim. However, Harden’s versatility has allowed him to be effective in a number of ways coming off the bench, particularly with his outside shooting and playmaking. 
One final thought: If Harden was healthy, he probably would have been the one left alone when the Spurs double-teamed Kevin Durant on the Thunder’s final possession last night. Since Harden is a 37.7% three-point shooter, that may have been a gamble the Spurs were unwilling to take. Instead, 30% three-point shooter Thabo Sefolosha was the one given the open looked, and he fired a brick to give the Spurs the game. If Harden had been on the floor, it may have meant the difference between a win and a loss in a game crucial for playoff seeding in the rough-and-tumble Western Conference. 

Report: Celtics sign Gerald Green to one-year deal

CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 25:  Gerald Green #14 of the Miami Heat reacts after a play against the Charlotte Hornets during game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:

Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.

WATCH: LeBron James, Stephen Curry lead NBA’s top 100 plays of 2015-16 season

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The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.

No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.

No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.

There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.

Report: Celtics re-sign Tyler Zeller for two years, $16 million

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 19:  Kyle Korver #26 of the Atlanta Hawks grabs a rebound against Tyler Zeller #44 of the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 19, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.

Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Watch Charles Barkley struggle to pronounce “Jonas Valanciunas” last season

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The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.

Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.

This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.