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- Museum-quality James Harden head sculpt with authentic likeness, with “multi-layer” paint application. - Specially developed advance 1:9 scale body, with 34 points of articulations, accurate physical appearance, the best mobility ever.
- 8 pieces of James Harden signature interchangeable hands. - 1 / 9 scale Spalding basketball x 1 - Accurate Houston Rockets official Road uniform x 1 - Basketball tights x 1 - A pair of Official Stance NBA socks - A pair of Harden player edition sneaker - New design figurine stand, figurine easily connected by magnet - Houston Rockets team logo moveable plate for stand x 1
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Beneath those external trappings, Harden is an engineer. He doesn’t create, he builds. His raw materials are not those of an artist, he works with repetitive, probing dribbles, with a well-researched and thoroughly detailed blueprint for shot distribution, and with an exquisitely honed rip-through move that seems to send him to the free throw line at will. Harden’s basketball genius is not so much spontaneous inspiration, as the willingness to keep pushing the same damn buttons often enough that they create the desired result.
This is one of the reasons so many people find Harden grating to watch. He has the tools of a beautiful game and some find it offensive that he uses those tools in the service of something as utilitarian as efficiency. As a general rule, fans don’t derive much pleasure from watching players shoot free throws. Even less joy is to be had in watching the tangled mess of bodies that sends that player to the free throw line in the first place. Harden’s ability to create offense in isolation and get himself to the free throw line helps his team win. It does not help make him or them likable.
Last season, the Rockets mostly played a joyless if not quite terrible brand of basketball. Ty Lawson didn’t work out. The chemistry between Harden and Dwight Howard was…lacking. Kevin McHale was shown the door after just 11 games and whatever momentum they had built with their trip to the 2015 Western Conference Finals was quickly eroded by losses, lackluster defense, and a general basketball malaise. The Rockets weren’t much fun to watch and they didn’t appear to be much fun to play for either.
Likability and a beautiful aesthetic are not prerequisites for winning games. Championships have been won by villains and by heroes who played ugly basketball. But joy and inspiration can certainly grease the wheels a little. The Rockets haven’t been lacking for talent or strategy the past few seasons, and sometimes that’s enough. It appears Houston needs a little bit more.
(Ian Levy, Fansided)
For Harden, the initial commitment in July was this: agree to a short-term raise and an additional contractual year through 2019 with a contract renegotiation. Now, the franchise-deflating acrimony of his relationship with Dwight Howard is gone, and a new coach, a new investment of free-agent shooters surround him. “I have made the sacrifice that I want to do whatever it takes to win, so it’s one of the reasons why I didn’t go to the Olympics this summer,” Harden told The Vertical.
“It was one of the toughest decisions that I’ve ever made in my life. For my legacy here in Houston and in the NBA, I thought it was important.” Two years ago, the Rockets reached the Western Conference finals, catapulting Harden to No. 2 in the MVP voting. A year ago, Harden had an even better individual season – only to find it lost amid the turmoil of a fired coach, locker-room dysfunction and underachievement.
Harden’s sitting inside the Rockets players’ lounge in the Toyota Center – awaiting the start of a training-camp practice – and the conversation is turning to that nebulous place between perception and reality. If some still want to judge Harden
on those five-minute YouTube compilations of his worst moments – those defensive laugh tracks – he understands that he’s delivered them the content to judge him harshly. He won’t tell you that it isn’t embarrassing, only that he’s determined to make those moments become rarer and rarer. He knows this, though: Every night, no one has to go searching for the franchise star of the Houston Rockets. He’s on the floor, ball in his hands.
As franchise players go, he fits the most important criteria: He’s always available, always balling. Across the past two seasons, Harden has played 185 out of 186 regular-season and playoff games, including 38.1 minutes per game in 2015-16.
(Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Yahoo Sports)