James Harden is more than a shooter

MIKE BALDWIN Published: July 4, 2009
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photo - Thunder star Kevin Durant is very high on rookie shooting guard James Harden. (Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman)
Thunder star Kevin Durant is very high on rookie shooting guard James Harden. (Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman)
Hours after running his basketball camp, Kevin Durant drove to the Thunder practice facility to play three-on-three games with teammates, including James Harden, the No. 3 overall selection in the draft.

"That was fun,” Durant said. "We brought out the best in each other. Harden is unbelievable. He’s very strong, very athletic. People don’t think he’s athletic, but he is. He can shoot and passes extremely well. I think that’s the best part of his game.”

Harden was best known as a shooter during his two seasons at Arizona State, but Thunder general manager Sam Presti, Durant and others claim Harden has a solid all-around game.

Harden joined Jason Kidd and Mike Bibby as the only sophomores in Pacific-10 Conference history to be named Player of the Year.

"He’s versatile, someone who can play the point through the three,” Durant said. "He can pass, play defense, is strong and can get to the basket. He’s going to bring a lot to our team.”

Harden, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, became just the fifth player to lead the Pac-10 in scoring (20.1) and steals (1.7). He will make his unofficial debut with the Thunder on Monday in the Orlando Summer League.

While it was the first time they faced one another on the court, Durant said he’s followed Harden dating back to their high school days, when they were only one year apart on the AAU circuit.