Going back all the way to last year, the Rockets tried and failed numerous times in their attempt to bring a cornerstone piece to the franchise. Their attempts at Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard all went for naught. However, the Rockets finally landed their man. Just a few days before the season was set to start the Rockets sent a package of young players and draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for 23-year-old James Harden. Harden has gotten better every season since coming into the NBA, he emerged last year for the Thunder and looks to have all the ability to be a superstar in the making. It was only one game and Harden is going from being a sixth man in Oklahoma City to the man in Houston, but if last night’s debut of 37 points and 12 assists is any indication, the Rockets mission has been accomplished and they have their cornerstone for the next five years.
Daryl Morey joined KBME in Houston to talk about what his initial thoughts were as soon as yesterday’s game went final, on using the word amazing to describe James Harden, why he was so engaged in the game yesterday, on the backup point guard play and closing the deal to get James Harden to Houston.
What his initial thoughts were as soon as the game went final against the Pistons:
“Thank God we signed him. That was amazing.”
On using the word amazing to describe James Harden:
“I was stunned. If he could do that every night then we will be fine but that’s expecting a lot. Just like a lot of these things, we do our best to forecast these things but obviously he was way better than we could’ve thought. Just one game, we have to keep it up, but he looks like the guy we want to build around like we thought.”
Why he was so engaged in the game last night:
“We struggled at times, we’re certainly not a finished product, we’re going to be up and down, we’re the youngest team in the NBA and that’s going to mean some bumps in the road as these guys either come out and do really well or maybe come out and struggle. We were down in the fourth quarter, had a big comeback to win it so obviously James Harden and coming back in the fourth quarter, that’s why we’re all fans and there’s a reason we’re in sports. It’s exciting.”
On the backup point guard play for Houston:
“James is probably tied with Jeremy as our best point guard. I think you saw that yesterday when he has the ball in his hands, he not only can be an elite two guard but he’s a great one. Toney (Douglas) is going to have a better game, he struggled yesterday but he’s going to be better. Defense, his shooting and his ability to use his quickness. All of that will be better going forward. One of these games Jeremy Lin or James Harden is going to have a down game and we will need someone else to pick us up.”
On closing out the deal for James Harden:
“Getting James here was obviously a team effort. It starts with the owner giving us the resources to do things like buy picks that we used to get him and then too many people to name have been working for years to hopefully pull off a move. We can’t keep our eye of the fact that obviously we’re not a title contender yet, we still need to get something else done or have one of these young guys really step up for us. Appreciate it. Beardsanity, we’re going to leave that to the marketing department. I have enough to worry about.”
Listen to Daryl Morey on KBME in Houston here (Audio begins 38:00 into the podcast)