It was a Monday afternoon in April when Michael Beasley and James Harden were on the court together, but not just any Monday afternoon was in store for them.
For the first time in their careers, they were in the spotlight, and it was a rare occasion for Harden to have the ball in his hands.
And it was on that day that the Rockets’ point guard and Harden began a new, more collaborative relationship.
“It was cool,” Harden said.
“It was a lot of fun.
It was like we’re playing for each other.”
Harden has long been known as a leader, but when it comes to leadership, there are a lot more in the ring than there used to be.
And while it was nice to have Harden and Beasley around, it was also nice to see Harden working to become a more efficient scorer.
“He’s a great leader,” Harden explained.
“But, he’s also a great teammate.
He’s a leader.
So, it’s just a great relationship.
It’s great for us.”
Harden and Harden both have a history of shooting the ball well.
They both are big on passing the ball, but they have different ways of putting it to the floor.
Harden shoots well from the field, but he doesn’t like to shoot it when he has a player on him.
He also has a tendency to go for it when his man isn’t in position to get a shot off.
He does a great job with the pick and roll, but it’s hard to tell if he’s really working to get his teammates to the line.
Harden has the ability to create offense and is an excellent passer, but his shooting is inconsistent.
He isn’t the best shooter in the NBA, but in his career he has averaged a career-high 31.7 percent from the free throw line.
When he’s on, Harden has been an effective scorer, averaging 12.2 points per game on 50.2 percent shooting from the floor and 38.1 percent on free throws.
Harden and the Rockets are also working on chemistry.
Harden is a veteran leader who knows the importance of communication.
“I think it helps him grow as a player,” Beasley said.
But the Rockets need that chemistry if they want to win games.
They also need to improve their defensive ability, which was in shambles at times last season, which has become a major concern heading into the season.
Beasley has always been a strong defender, but the Rockets didn’t have the offensive firepower to compete with elite teams in the West.
Harden, on the other hand, is a dominant rebounder and playmaker, and the ability for him to play through injuries has been a huge plus for the Rockets.
The Rockets have a young nucleus, but many question whether they have the necessary pieces to make the playoffs.
Harden will have to find that magic combination.
Harden isn’t going to turn 26 until February, so it’ll be interesting to see how he and Beash are able to find chemistry, both on and off the court.
Beash’s a rookie, but Harden is in his third season.
But this will be Harden’s second trip to the NBA Finals, having won it in his first appearance in the conference finals back in 2014.
So the Rockets have to figure out how to get their point guard to play better, as well as how to develop a healthy Harden.
Beese’s been a star since joining the Rockets in 2012, but has struggled with injuries.
He averaged just 6.7 points per contest last season.
“He’s always been great at defense,” Harden added.
“That’s one of the things we really try to do with him.
But you’ve got to be able to score on him, too.
You’ve got no choice.”
Beasley will have an opportunity to prove that his defense is not the problem.
He is an elite rebounder, and he is one of only three players to average at least 12 rebounds per game.
But his defense has been inconsistent, especially on the offensive end.
Harden said the Rockets will be focusing on the defensive side of the ball.
Beas has a reputation as a defensive minded player, and Harden said that he would be “really good” if he had a little more experience.
Harden also said he would like to see Beas develop a “really strong” jumper, which he said will help him defend.
Bezas is a big man, but can he be more aggressive and assertive defensively?
“I don’t know, man,” Harden laughed.
I think I’m going to give him a good test and see.”
Beas had some good moments on the bench last season for the Heat, but was not very effective.
He was just a backup point guard on the Heat roster, but did a lot in the preseason games.
But Beasley is coming off a season in which he averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists. He