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James Harden says new teammate Austin Rivers will have ‘more than enough opportunities’ in Houston

Rockets, James Harden, Austin Rivers

The Houston Rockets have picked up steam at the right time and climbed into the playoff picture, leapfrogging the San Antonio Spurs for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. The recent addition of recently-waived guard Austin Rivers should only help the quest to climb up the playoff ladder, according to franchise star James Harden, who is already fond of the team’s new acquisition.

“He’s a really good defender. He can shoot the ball well. He can make plays and handle it,” Harden said of Rivers, according to Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic. “Obviously, with the guys that are out, with him being basically free it was a no-brainer. He’s going to have more than enough opportunities.”

The Rockets backcourt has had mixed results throughout this season, but the duo of Chris Paul and James Harden have been largely what has allowed the team to slowly climb out of a decadent start to the regular season.

Paul’s Grade 2 hamstring strain has complicated that process, which made Rivers’ signing the sensible thing to do with what some in the organization believe could be an extended absence.

Rivers played alongside Paul with the L.A. Clippers and the two reportedly clashed multiple times during their stint there. The recently-signed guard will be in a much different situation now, though, away from his father-coach Doc Rivers and far from claims of benefit through nepotism.

The 26-year-old claims he has no issues with Paul after being waived by the Phoenix Suns immediately after the Washington Wizards traded him only a third through the regular season.