James Harden Pays Respect to Emerging Rockets Star [LOOK]

James Harden Pays Respect to Emerging Rockets Star [LOOK]


Brooklyn’s James Harden drives to the net against Houston’s Kevin Porter Jr. at Barclays Center on March 31, 2021 in New York City.

James Harden left the Rockets on messy terms earlier this season, a breakup that helped to at least temporarily obscure how much Harden did for Houston and its NBA team in more than eight years.

Still, Harden’s impact on the Rockets became crystal clear almost immediately after his departure for the Brooklyn Nets; two weeks after the trade, the Harden-less Rockets lost a team-record 20 straight games.

Questions quickly arose about how Houston would be able to replace even a fraction of what Harden provided for them. But recently, the Rockets have gotten a glimmer of hope in that regard — and Harden approves.

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Harden Supports Kevin Porter Jr.

Kevin Porter Jr. went off for 50 points, five rebounds and 11 assists against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, a monstrous effort by the NBA sophomore whose star has continued to rise since being called up from the G-League in early March.

The 20-year-old, who was selected with the 30th overall pick in the 2019 draft, is averaging 16.7 points, 6.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 32.3 minutes for the Rockets this season.

The Beard is taking note.

“Lefty DIFFERENT,” Harden tweeted Friday while tagging Porter Jr., who, like Harden, shoots left-handed.

A day before Porter Jr.’s 50-point night, the NBA fined him $50,000 for violating the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols for visiting a Miami Strip Club earlier this month, per ESPN.

Consider that another similarity to Harden, who also has been known to have an affinity for strip clubs.

On Twitter, Rob Perez quickly drew that parallel while claiming that Harden’s legacy appeared to be in good hands in Houston.

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Harden & Porter Jr. Have Strong Relationship

As Perez noted on Twitter, a graphic flashed on the ESPN broadcast when Porter Jr. was drafted in 2019. It showed that his favorite player was Harden.

Porter was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Rockets on January 21, a few days after Houston shipped Harden to Brooklyn in a mega four-team deal. So the two lefties didn’t have the chance to overlap as teammates.

According to the The Akron Beacon Journal, Porter said he trained with Harden during the summer of 2019. After they faced off for the first time in December 2019 — Porter was with the Cavs at the time, and Harden with the Rockets — Porter said Harden gave him a simple message.

″‘Just keep going,”’ Porter said Harden told him, per the Beacon Journal. “Me and him are very close. Definitely a big brother to me and one of my idols in the league.”

Harden’s Return From Injury Still Not Imminent

Harden on Friday will miss his 13th straight game for the Nets as he nurses a hamstring strain.

Earlier this week, Nets coach Steve Nash said Harden was on the road with the team during its most recent road trip and is “starting to build up his capacity,” according to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic.

On Friday, ahead of Brooklyn’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Nash said “we’ll see” when he was asked if we’ve seen the last of Harden in the regular season, per Schiffer.

Brooklyn’s Big Three of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has play only seven games together since the Nets traded for Harden in January.

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