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James Harden compares 2012 Thunder and 2018 Rockets

After finishing with the third best record in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets are determined to dethrone the Golden State Warriors for the 2017-18 NBA season. Along with the Chris Paul trade for numerous prospects, the Rockets signed PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Tarik Black to shore up their bench in free agency.

Although the Warriors were able to re-sign their core and improve their bench depth, James Harden believes this year’s Rockets are ‘by far’ the best team since he arrived according to Michael Pena of VICE Sports:

With space, time, and complementary personnel who can take advantage of the attention he draws, Harden is in the best situation of his career—similar to what Curry has enjoyed with Golden State since his meteoric rise. Even though they have yet to take the floor, in our interview he referred to this year’s team as “by far” the Rockets’ best since his arrival in Houston five years ago. He was even willing to compare it to his Oklahoma City Thunder squad that made the Finals back in 2012.

In addition, Harden feels there are similarities with the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder which featured Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook:

“Both teams are similar as far as talent and versatility, a mixture of vets and young guys. Both are very, very, very talented,” Harden said. “Now, obviously, the difference is we were younger back then, but both are good.”

For the Rockets, they may be the biggest threat to the Warriors winning their third championship in four seasons. However, head coach Mike D’Antoni will need to figure out how to best utilize Harden and Paul, who are expected to keep each other fresh throughout the season and playoffs.

The Rockets will get their first shot at the defending champions on Oct. 17 at Oracle Arena in their season opener.