In Oklahoma City, James Harden didn’t have all the responsibilities of being the face of the franchise. There were fewer demands on his time off the court, and fewer touches on it.
Now the Rockets’ future is tied to him. That means on the court where he will be the focal point of the offense and he has to both score and get others involved.
And off the court, where he needs to help recruit talent to go around him. It matters in today’s NBA — Wade helped recruit LeBron and Bosh to Miami, then did the same with Ray Allen. Kobe Bryant helped recruit and sell Dwight Howard on the Lakers (but in his own Kobe way).
Harden told KGOW in Houston he is recruiting, (via Sports Radio Interviews):
“Of course. I’ve been starting that recruiting process. One player is not going to win a championship. Nowadays you need two or maybe more. I’ve definitely started the recruiting process. We need more guys to come over here, so we can win. For right now we are going to stick with the players we have and try to run with that.”
The Rockets have some guys who could be good role players on an elite team on their roster already — Omer Asik is a good defensive big man, guys like Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson can get the job done.
Then there is Jeremy Lin, who would be lit up on the back pages in New York for his play this year but in reality has looked like a guy learning to be a point guard in the NBA. Which he is, Harden noted.
“He’s done a great job. It’s his first year, too, as a starting point guard, and starting the year off as a point guard, so we both have a lot to learn together. He’s a great player. He can create on the ball and shoot the ball as well. He’s a great point guard.”
There’s a lot of work for Rockets GM Daryl Morey to do still. A lot. He has some tradable assets and some cap space the next couple years to try and do it.
But he’s not going to do it without Harden being the salesman.