James Harden: “I’m excited about what D’Antoni brings to our team”

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Jason Terry has a new show on SiriusXM NBA Radio that debuted Wednesday, and the veteran guard reached into his contact list and pulled up a good one — James Harden.

The All-Star guard and his Houston Rockets had a disappointing season, missing the playoffs with a defense that could kindly be called porous. That meant changes, starting with Kevin McHale getting fired mid-season, and interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff not being brought back after the season. Now in comes the run-and-gun style of Mike D’Antoni, which fits the style management wants to play but will mean significant roster changes are needed.

Harden is pumped about the change, he told Terry in the interview, as transcribed by the Jonathan Feigen Houston Chronicle.

“I’m excited,” Harden said on Sirius XM on Wednesday. “I’m excited about the opportunity. I’ve been hearing great things about him, what he brings to our team. Obviously, our assistant coaches (Jeff Bzdelik and Roy Rogers) as well. A new beginning and I’m excited about the opportunity…

“I’m excited about what D’Antoni brings to our team. (Assistant coach Jeff) Bzdelik is a great defensive-minded coach coming from Memphis who is going to help our defensive schemes. Then the players we’re going to get, it’s set up as a great season for our team next year.”

Excitement is a good beginning. Next season needs to start with Harden showing up in much better shape, and with a much more focused commitment to defense. The changes in the Rockets need to start with him.

Terry told Harden on air the bearded one should be a great fit in the D’Antoni offense because he is a playmaker, not just a scorer. Harden’s going to have the ball in his hands — which is what he wants — and he will have control of the offense, he just can be a ball stopper.

That Harden is excited is a good first step toward the kind of changes the Rockets need.