Harden with the Rockets
|No. 13 – Houston Rockets|
August 26, 1989 |
Los Angeles, California
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||220 lb (100 kg)|
|High school||Artesia (Lakewood, California)|
|College||Arizona State (2007–2009)|
|NBA Draft||2009 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall|
|Selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2009–2012||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
James Edward Harden, Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was a first-time All-Star in 2013, his first season with the Rockets. He was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012.
Harden played college basketball for the Arizona State Sun Devils, where he was named a consensus All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009. Harden was selected third overall by Oklahoma City in the 2009 NBA Draft. He became a key part of a young core of players led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Together, the team reached the 2012 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat. Harden was then traded to Houston and became the cornerstone of the Rockets franchise. He scored a career high 46 points against Oklahoma City on February 20, 2013.
Early years 
High school 
Harden attended Artesia High School in Lakewood, California. In his sophomore year, he averaged 13.2 points as Artesia went 28–5. He improved his stats to 18.8 points, 7.7 boards and 3.5 assists in his junior season and led Artesia to the California state title and a 33–1 record. Artesia won the state title in Harden's final year too by going 33–2. Harden had similar stats as during the previous season: 18.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He was named a Parade and McDonald's All-American.
He also helped his AAU team, Pump-N-Run Elite, to the 2006 Las Vegas Adidas Super 64 championship. Harden had 34 points in the victory over a DC Assault team which included Michael Beasley, Nolan Smith and Austin Freeman. In the game against Houston Hoops, played on the same day, Harden had 33 points. In the final, Pump-N-Run Elite beat Kevin Love's Southern California All-Stars.
College career 
Arizona State was picked to finish 9th in the Pac-10 Conference. Due to the help of Harden's average of 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists, the Sun Devils went 21–13 (9–9) and finished tied for 5th in the Pac-10. They were considered a bubble team for the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Left out of the NCAA tournament, they were selected to the 2008 NIT field and defeated Alabama State and Southern Illinois before falling to defending national champion Florida.
Entering his sophomore year, Harden appeared on many pre-season All-American lists and appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated college basketball preview issue. He was named to the Wooden Award preseason watch list. On November 30, 2008, Harden scored a career-high 40 points in an 88–58 victory over UTEP. On the Tempe campus, a popular t-shirt emerged for his fans. It read, "Die Harden Fan".
Following the conference season, Harden was named the Pacific-10 Conference's Player of the Year. He was also named a consensus All-American. After the conclusion of the season (a second-round NCAA tournament loss to Syracuse), Harden declared his eligibility for the NBA Draft. He employed Rob Pelinka as his agent.
College statistics 
|2007–08||Arizona State Sun Devils||34||17.8||5.3||3.2||2.1||0.6||.527||.407||.754||34.1||2.6|
|2008–09||Arizona State Sun Devils||35||20.1||5.6||4.2||1.7||0.3||.489||.356||.756||35.8||3.4|
NBA career 
Oklahoma City Thunder (2009–2012) 
Harden was drafted 3rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. This made him the first player to be drafted by the franchise as the Oklahoma City Thunder. The franchise last entered the 2008 NBA Draft as the Seattle SuperSonics.
In his first NBA season, Harden saw more than 22 minutes on the court per game, averaging 9.9 points per game. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. In his second year, he played all 82 games of the regular season, averaging 12.2 points per game. In the playoffs, he averaged 13 points per game, shooting over 47% from the field.
On April 18, 2012, Harden scored 40 points in a 109–97 victory over the Phoenix Suns. He had the best season in his NBA career in 2012, averaging 16.8 points in 31.4 minutes per game, even though he played only 2 of 62 games as a starter. On April 22 against the Los Angeles Lakers, Harden suffered a concussion after being elbowed by the Lakers' Metta World Peace, who was celebrating a dunk. World Peace was ejected, and was later suspended for seven games by the league. Harden returned for the first game of the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks. The Thunder reached the NBA Finals, but lost to the Miami Heat.
Harden was named the 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, becoming the second youngest player ever to do so. He was one of the most efficient scorers in the league, finishing second in both true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage, posting a .660 TS% and .582 eFG%. He also led all NBA reserves with 16.8 points per game. The Thunder reached the 2012 NBA Finals, but lost to the Miami Heat. Oklahoma City attempted to sign Harden to a four year contract extension worth between $52 and $55 million.
Houston Rockets (2012–present) 
After failing to agree on a contract extension with the Thunder, Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets, along with Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich, and Lazar Hayward, for Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first round picks and a second round pick. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey called Harden a "foundational" player for the team's goal of returning to title contention. Harden was expected to be Houston's featured player after starting only seven games in three years in a supporting role behind Durant and Westbrook. On October 31, he signed a contract extension with the Houston Rockets for five years worth $80 million. In the Rockets 2012–13 season opener, he had 37 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, and four steals. His 37 points tied for the second most for an NBA player in his debut with a new team, and he was also the first with at least 37 points and 12 assists in his debut. Harden was the first Houston player to record 37/12 since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994–95. On November 2, 2012, he scored 45 points in a win against the Atlanta Hawks; he also tallied 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Following the first week of the season, Harden was named the Western Conference Player of the Week.
Harden was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time for games played between December 30 and January 6 after averaging 29.3 points, 5.5 assists, and leading the Rockets to a perfect 4–0 week, including two double-digit comebacks on the road.
On January 10, 2013, during a loss to the New Orleans Hornets, Harden scored 25 points for the 14th consecutive game, breaking the Rockets' franchise record previously held by Hall of Famer Moses Malone.
Harden was named to his first All-Star game as a reserve for the Western Conference for the 2012–13 season. He was one of seven first-time selections, along with Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Jrue Holiday, Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, and Brook Lopez, although Harden was the only first-time All-Star for the Western Conference. Harden scored 15 points in the game.
Harden finished the season with career-highs in many statistical categories. He led the league in free throws attempted with 792 and was second in free throws made with 674, five behind former teammate Kevin Durant. He also finished in the top ten in points per game (fifth with 25.9), three pointers made (sixth with 179), steals per game (seventh with 1.82), and minutes per game (sixth with 38.3).
Harden led the Rockets to a 45-37 record overall and the team made to the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 NBA season.
NBA career statistics 
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Regular season 
Harden's prominent beard has both a Twitter account and a Facebook page. It has inspired T-shirts and songs. Harden started growing his beard in college in 2009 after being too lazy to shave.
- Bradley, Bill. – "Leading Off". – The Sacramento Bee. – January 21, 2009.
- Sorting Out A Zillion Players In Vegas
- UCLA Picked To Defend Pac-10 Title in 2007–08
- 2007–08 Men's Basketball All-Conference Honors Announced
- John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List
- Boxscore – Arizona State vs. UTEP 11/20/08
- King, Jason (February 19, 2009). "Sun Devils rise in the West - College Basketball - Rivals.com". Rivals.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
- Pac-10 All-Tournament Team
- Haller, Doug (March 9, 2009). "Harden named Pac-10 Player of Year". Azcentral.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
- James Harden Declares Entry to NBA Draft
- "James Harden". DraftExpress LLC. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Lakers rally for 2OT win after Metta World Peace ejected for vicious elbow". ESPN.com. April 22, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "Metta World Peace suspended for 7". ESPN.com. April 24, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- Jeff Latzke (April 30, 2012). "Durant's winner lifts Thunder past Mavs, 99–98". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- "Thunder's James Harden wins Kia Sixth Man Award" (Press release). NBA. May 10, 2012. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012.
- Windhorst, Brian (October 28, 2012). "Heat: OKC deal alters West balance". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012.
- Mayberry, Darnell (October 27, 2012). "Oklahoma City Thunder trades James Harden to Houston". newsok.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012.
- "GM: James Harden is 'foundational'". ESPN. October 29, 2012.
- "James Harden gets $80 million". ESPN.com. Associated Press. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012.
- "Harden's successful launch among best". ESPN.com. October 31, 2012. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012.
- James Harden named NBA Player of the Week
- James Harden lifts Rockets over Timberwolves
- James Harden named Western Conference Player of the Week
- James Harden's Record-Setting Streak Not Enough to Keep Rockets Winning
- Harden gets triple-double as Rockets beat Bobcats
- Bobcats at Rockets
- Harden scores 46, Rockets rally past Thunder
- Beck, Howard (May 27, 2012). "Standing Out and Blending In". The New York Times. p. SP7. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012.
- Kerby, Trey (December 20, 2011). "Get your very own James Harden beard thanks to this t-shirt". TheScore.com (Score Media Inc). Archived from the original on June 14, 2012.
- Thamel, Pete (March 20, 2009). "James Harden’s Style at Guard Masks His Ability at Arizona State". The New York Times. p. B13. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012.
|Harden on November 21, 2008 Sports Illustrated cover|
- Career statistics and player information from NBA.com, or Basketball-Reference.com
- Arizona State athletic site bio
- ESPN college player profile