James Harden finally got his wish when the Philadelphia 76ers traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in a midnight blockbuster last week. When the Sixers and Clippers made the deal, there were questions about how Harden would fit in a team that has three other stars in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook. Adding one of the most ball-dominant players in the league to a squad that has three players who operate best with the ball in their hands does not seem ideal. But the Clippers made the trade anyway.

A week after doing the deal, Harden finally made his Clippers (and season) debut on Monday against the New York Knicks. Unfortunately for the Clippers, the Knicks spoiled The Beard's first game with his new team and handed them a 111-97 loss at Madison Square Garden. With his season debut finally out of the way, let's give a grade on how James Harden did in his first game as a member of the Clippers.

James Harden's Clippers debut grade: C

James Harden's Los Angeles Clippers debut wasn't too crazy. It wasn't horrendous, either, despite the loss.

Harden had a pretty decent stat line with 17 points, three rebounds, and six assists. He was also efficient, going 6-of-9 from the field, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. For the most part, it was a solid individual debut.

Team-wise, that wasn't necessarily the case. Apart from losing in his Clippers debut, Harden was tied for a team-worst minus-18 in his 31 minutes on the floor, alongside Ivica Zubac.

Harden looked every part of a player who did not go through any preseason tune-ups or a training camp for that matter. The man admitted that even he was caught off guard with suddenly being back out there on the floor.

“I was out there just basically winging it,” Harden told reporters following the game. “Trying to go out on my basketball instincts and what I've been doing the last few years.”

Nonetheless, if “winging it” nets an efficient 17 points to go along with six assists, then Harden should be just fine.

The Clippers, meanwhile, also looked off as they tried to integrate the high-usage star into their system.

Building chemistry will take time

Championship teams aren't built overnight and the Clippers are well aware of that.

Ty Lue mentioned that he intends to play James Harden off the ball to begin his Clippers stint. But after what he showed in his debut, it's clear that they will need the former league MVP to be himself and have the ball in his hands to bring out the best in himself and in his teammates.

It was clear to begin the game that the Clippers were still feeling each other out with the new-look lineup. There were moments when Harden seemed reluctant to dominate the ball and was passive through the early goings of his debut. But as the game went along, he was slowly coming back to his creator ways.

Nonetheless, Harden will still need to adjust his game playing alongside his star-studded teammates. Harden still seems allergic to shooting off the catch. There were a few instances on Monday when he passed up wide open looks from beyond the arc instead of shooting the high-percentage shot.

Harden will need to embrace shooting those shots, because those are the shots he will need to take and make if the Clippers want a chance to their first ever NBA championship.