You may be waking up on this chilly Sunday morning, nursing a hangover from a Halloween party from last night, and realized James Harden has been traded to the Houston Rockets.
You might be asking yourself “WTF” because that was the echoed sentiments across the interwebs last night, and some feel the Thunder may a horrible decision, other feel Harden is the bad guy, and Laker fans are sitting back laughing their asses off.
Both side of the argument have reasonable arguments, but what do the stats say? Or rather what does The NBA Mistress’ favorite stat nerd, Andres Alvarez, say about the trade.
The Thunder got played. I’d like to point out that for all the credit Presti gets for using draft picks correctly, he’s just let a top player walk out the door. And the returns are terrible. Martin is years away from when he was relevant. James Harden ranked fourth on Arturo’s draft sheet. Jeremy Lamb? He ranks 25th! And this of course leaves out that Harden is at the ideal age, while Lamb won’t hit his peak for a while. Finally, the draft picks may be nice. Except, first thanks to this move the Rockets likely won’t be getting lottery picks. (Editor’s Note: wiLQ brings up a good point, I’m not sure if they got the picks from Houston or from Dallas/Toronto. Those may be better but I’m still not sold) Second, it’s questionable if the Thunder draft office is as good as people think. (Jeff Green? Westbrook?) So in the end, Daryl Morey manages to somehow get out of my doghouse, which is an amazing feat. And somehow the Bulls and Thunder, who have been terrific teams the last two seasons, get to collapse this offseason.
P.s. A brief followup. With Harden the Thunder were a title a team. They still had him under contract for another year. I am of the opinion that if you can’t get good value for your star, which they didn’t, you play for the title! The Thunder took themselves out of contention a year before they needed to. Giving myself more time to think about this trade just makes it look even worse.
Dre brings valid points to the table, the Thunder had their ship right as they were the best team in the Western Conference, losing the Sixth Man of the Year is a problem, but to say the Thunder are out of contention — for certain — is a reach for me.
Absolutely, OKC felt they had to deal Harden — even if “we” disagree with that — but the fact is they received above average — not stellar — parts for Harden. Does that mean they are taken out of contention? I don’t think so.
OKC still has Westbrook, Durant, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins; this trade means the other pieces will have to playmake more than they were.
My final thought is this: there isn’t a right or wrong side here — I mean, unless you’re calling Harden overrated of course — both sides have good arguments. This is a situation where we have to see it played out.