Is James Harden a perfect fit for Oklahoma City Thunder?

By MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer

MIKE BALDWIN Modified: June 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm •  Published: June 16, 2009
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He also ran 11.10 in lane agility, only .01 slower than Hornets All-Star guard Chris Paul ran in 2005. He also displayed good strength (17 repetitions of 200 pounds). The one drawback was 10.1 percent body fat.

Said Pera, "People look for weaknesses but he always has an answer." Said one Eastern Conference scout, "He's an above average athlete."

"He's not slow," the scout said. "He still needs to show me he can shoot it as well as some people think. ... Wherever he ends up he'll be a very good NBA player for a long time."

Harden isn't a one dimensional spot-up shooter. He averaged 7.1 free-throw attempts during his two seasons at Arizona State, shooting 75.5 percent at the line.

"No one ever expects Paul Pierce to dunk over people," Pera said. "But because of how big he is and how smart he is, he can get to be where he needs to be on the floor. He gets to the line. That's James' game.

"James has never been a super flashy, look-at-me type of guy. He just wants to win games. If he needed to dunk he did. If he needed to hit five 3's he did. If he needed three great passes that's what he did. His game will translate well to the next level."

Harden led Artesia to a 66-3 and consecutive California state high school championships before choosing Arizona State over Washington. Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar called it one of his biggest recruiting disappointments.

The 25 victories Harden led Arizona State to last season were its second highest victory total in 34 years.

ASU coach Herb Sendek stresses that Harden is still young (19), is extremely coachable and has a tremendous work ethic.

"He was great for our program which didn't have much tradition," Sendek said. "Whatever team takes James Harden will get a very talented player, a team player."

"Whether it's Washington, Sacramento or Oklahoma City, I know he will be thrilled," Pera said. "But there's just something going on there in Oklahoma City that has his attention. With what they're trying to build, it would be a great fit."

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