James Harden discusses a variety of topics in Q&A with FOX Sports
Despite seeing his personal numbers improve in 2015-16, it was a disappointing season overall for James Harden and his Houston Rockets. They went from an appearance in the Western Conference finals to the 8th seed. Their chemistry crumbled, and they never really found a groove as a unit.
The former MVP runner-up is already working to improve for the upcoming season. With the additions of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon as well as the departure of Dwight Howard, a new era of Rockets basketball is upon us. When training camp tips off, the Beard wants to make sure he’s completely ready.
While on the set of an adidas commercial shoot, Harden sat down with Brett Pollakoff of FOX Sports to discuss a variety of topics.
You can read the entire Q&A here, but two talking points drew the most interest: why Harden declined an offer to play for Team USA, and details on his budding relationship with new head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Harden’s response when asked why he’s not playing for Team USA in Rio:
JH: It was a variety of things. I think last year with the Rockets was disappointing, individually and as a team. I think just getting back to that elite level where we need to be was one of the things I wanted to focus on, along with a couple other things. But that was the main reason.
Achieving success representing his country would’ve been a positive experience that Harden could have draw upon back with Houston, but he chose a different approach that he felt was optimal for himself and the Rockets organization.
More from Harden, on his relationship with D’Antoni:
FS: You guys obviously have a new head coach this season in Mike D’Antoni. Have you had a chance to speak with him yet?
JH: Almost every day. I was just out in Houston, and we met just him and I and we talked about our goals, and the vision that we waned to reach, and things like that. I’m excited about it and I know for sure he is. There’s going to be some good things happening.
FS: Anything specific you can share of what he’s talked to you about, in terms of what he wants to see out of you next season?
JH: Just different areas or spots that he sees me in, to where I can be successful. Just getting that team chemistry back to where it needs to be – everybody on the same page, everybody having the same focus and the same goal, and that’s to win. He brings that extra boost that we’ve been missing. I think the younger guys are excited, and I’m for sure ready to go.
There’s optimism once again in Houston. If Harden and D’Antoni see eye-to-eye, they might be able to build something special.
If more drama arises, don’t expect positive results to follow.
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