James Harden on the Rockets: ‘This is the year. For sure’

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The Rockets’ 23-year-old center, Clint Capela, said Houston is better than the Warriors. It was an overstatement born of youthful exuberance. The Rockets’ seasoned veterans would never say something like –

James Harden, via Jovan Buha of ESPN:

“This is the year. For sure,” Harden told ESPN on Tuesday in an exclusive interview when asked what his expectations for the Rockets are this season.

Houston is an NBA-best 47-13. Harden is headed toward MVP, and Chris Paul is still elite. The supporting cast is deep and matches up relatively well with the Warriors.

But Golden State should be favored to win the title. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson – the Warriors are just overloaded with stars. It’s their year until proven otherwise.

Know how clear that is? Harden didn’t even mention them, and everyone – myself included – takes this as an implicit dig at Golden State.

Harden sounds as if he’s trying to instill confidence in the Rockets, maybe including himself. It might work. They can beat anybody.

But this could also fuel the Warriors, who don’t need much motivation for their talent advantage to win out.