Houston Rockets: James Harden & Dwight Howard, United
James Harden and Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets have been named to the All-NBA First and Second Teams. Houston’s dynamic duo led the Rockets to a 54-28 record this past season. It was cut short due to a disappointing defeat in the first round of the playoffs against the Portland Trailblazers.
Harden finished the season averaging 25.4 points, 6.1 assists per game and 4.7 rebounds. He is the first Houston Rocket to make the NBA First team since Hakeem Olajuwon. Harden was the No. 1 scoring option on the Rockets’ high-powered offense.
Harden showed signs of brilliance on the offensive end this season. He scored a season-high 43 points against the Sacramento Kings back in February. Harden was also voted to the NBA All-Star Team as a starter for the first time in his career as well.
In Howard’s first season as a Rocket, he showed spurts of being the dominant force he was in Orlando. Howard has made an All-NBA team eight times and this is his first year on the second team. Howard closed the 2013-14 season averaging 19.1 points per game, 12.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.
In his first fully-healthy season since leaving Orlando, Howard showed his abilities on both ends of the floor. He was named as an All-Star as well; and, for the most part, he seemed to mesh well with Harden this season.
This marks the first time the Rockets have had two players on the All-NBA team roster since the 2007-08 season. It seems as the Rockets are finally finding their core strength and making moves in the superstar category.
Harden beat out Stephen Curry for second in guards voting, while Howard was caught just behind Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls to land on the NBA Second Team. This is great news for the Rockets as they’ve been trying to find their footing and place in the league.
The Rockets will look to build off the accomplishments of these two as summer looms ahead. With the trade talks mounting, it will be interesting to see who the Rockets will target as they look to create their own Big Three.
The question remains, who will they target, as well as who is the best fit? All we can do is sit back and wait. For now, lets congratulate Harden and Howard on their achievements. They made a great “one-two punch” this season and we look forward to that many more years to come.
This season together is a start to a future of hope and promise. We have seen the NBA transform in a number ways over the last decade or so. Teams that become champions do so with a number of stars on their team.
In the past, Houston has tried to pair stars together before and it has not worked out they way they had hoped. Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady had the chance to be the dynamic duo for the ages but injuries slowed them down.
Harden and Howard will continue to grow together and will make strides to be a championship duo. The Rockets will have a tough task in front of them as the Western Conference isn’t getting any weaker any time soon. The in-state rival Spurs seem to never slow down, winning 50+ games every year. The Thunder, Warriors, Blazers, and the up-and-coming Phoenix Suns will also give the Rockets a run for their money in next season’s playoff race.
The Rockets have their two stars locked up for the next few years. They may look to add another star this summer to support Harden and Howard.
But for now, the two stars in Houston have done just fine in their first year together.