Ummmm who is that? My eyes tell me that's James Harden, but my brain cannot really compute that the person in that picture is in fact James Harden. During the season Harden was listed at 220lbs, his weird thiccc strength was one of the more fascinating things in modern science and it looks like he has spent quarantine morphing into a completely different person. Who knew the best way to get Harden is shape was to shut down all the strip clubs so he couldn't get his hands on that buffet. You take away his power source and his only other option is to change his body and get in shape. I'd like to officially retract my statement from yesterday when I grouped him in with guys that might come back fat once the games started back up again. Couldn't be more of the opposite.
It was always impressive to me how Harden never really looked "in shape" but always played 35+ minutes a night, especially with a usage rate over 36% which it has been over the last three seasons. I have no idea if a skinny Harden will work in the league because given the way he plays and draws contact I actually think his old frame was more of an asset. But here's the thing, every playoffs he always seemed to burn out because of his high usage during the regular season. Dating back to the 2012-13 season, here are his shooting splits in the playoffs
That's an average of 41/32%. If this new version of Harden isn't going to have his legs taken from him and is going to be able to be efficient in a playoff run? That changes things a little for Houston. Especially with Westbrook showing that he still looks like an in shape monster during this quarantine. If I were a Rockets fan this would have me over the moon.
Imagine this caliber of player
that doesn't get tired in the postseason because he's maybe a little too thicc. These two were already more than a handful for opposing defenses, now you may have to deal with them at a fitness level we've never seen before from Harden. If the Rockets somehow pull out a title and Harden has the best postseason of his career, every strip club within a 100 mile radius of Houston needs to have their buffet fully stocked at all times because Harden will have earned himself all the wings he can handle.