Thunder O Will Suffer Without Harden


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY –
Time will tell just how well the Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder did in Saturday’s deal that sent James Harden to Houston. Jeremy Lamb (a lottery pick, let’s not forget) could be a very good player down the road, and Presti has done relatively well with first-round picks.

But one thing’s for sure: The Thunder are going to take a step back offensively in the near future.

When Harden was on the floor last season, the Thunder offense was pretty unstoppable, scoring 112.2 points per 100 possessions. When Harden was on the bench, they scored just 99.3. That difference of 13.0 was the fourth highest among 335 players who logged at least 500 minutes for a particular team last year.

Biggest difference, team offensive efficiency, on and off court

Player MIN On-court OffRtg Off-court OffRtg Diff.
Blake Griffin 2,392 109.2 93.4 15.8
Chris Paul 2,180 109.6 95.6 14.1
Ryan Anderson 1,964 107.5 94.1 13.3
James Harden 1,946 112.2 99.3 13.0
Manu Ginobili 792 118.0 105.3 12.7

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions

Guards don’t score much more efficiently than Harden, who ranked fourth in the league in true shooting percentage. He got to the basket and to the line much more than Martin did last year.

Scoring profile, 2011-12, Harden vs. Martin

Player FG% 3PT% eFG% TS% FTA Rate %FGAR
Harden 49.1% 39.0% 58.2% 66.0% .587 37.8%
Martin 41.3% 34.7% 48.6% 55.4% .333 14.2%

eFG% = (FGM + (0.5*3PM)) / FGA
TS% = Points / (2*(FGA + (0.44*FTA)))
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA
%FGAR = Percentage of total shots from the restricted area

But maybe the key question is whether the Thunder are getting last year’s Martin or the more efficient scorer he was earlier in his career. His career free throw rate is actually higher than Harden’s.

Scoring profile, career, Harden vs. Martin

Player FG% 3PT% eFG% TS% FTA Rate %FGAR
James Harden 44.4% 37.0% 52.9% 60.5% .503 34.7%
Kevin Martin 44.3% 37.7% 50.5% 59.5% .528 24.4%

Except for how much Harden gets to the basket, their career numbers are pretty close. But Harden is also more of a playmaker, assisting on 15.3 percent of his teammates field goals while he’s been on the floor over the course of his career, compared to 11.1 percent for Martin.

Martin should improve from last year with the move to OKC, but Harden is only 23 with potential to get even better. And it’s yet to be seen whether Martin can carry the Thunder second unit like Harden did.

Harden played about 7 1/2 minutes per game with neither Kevin Durant nor Russell Westbrook on the floor with him. And he still managed to keep the offense humming and keep the scoreboard moving in the right direction in those minutes.

Thunder efficiency with Harden on the floor, 2011-12

On floor MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Harden + Durant + Westbrook 1,165 96.5 114.4 104.5 +9.9 +258
Harden + Durant, no Westbrook 253 95.7 109.6 98.8 +10.8 +38
Harden + Westbrook, no Durant 64 98.6 103.7 84.5 +19.2 +28
Harden, no Durant or Westbrook 464 89.8 109.1 101.9 +7.3 +43

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

We’ll see whether Scott Brooks trusts Martin with his second unit, or if he looks to stagger Durant’s and Westbrook’s minutes more than he has in the past. In total last season, Durant played just 38 minutes last season with neither Harden nor Westbrook on the floor, and Westbrook played just 13 minutes with neither Durant nor Harden.

104 Comments

  1. charles says:

    I think the Thunder might suffer without Harden, but it is possible they might Thrive without him too. I mean they guy really stunk it up in the finals. HUGE. The reality is that OKC will do fine in the regular season without him. It’s got Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka – nuf said. so the real question is this: Will they suffer from not having Harden in the playoffs? Given Harden’s most recent demonstration – no! Kevin Martin is very offensively minded and can get to the free throw at a very fast clip and moves without the ball well. Selfoosha is probably going to be the starter anyway and even he showed more moxey and heart than Harden in the playoffs. And you add JLamb to the mix and you’re shooting guard situation is now looking solid. With Maynor playing as well as he is, the ball handling issue is OK, not super deep, but fine. If he stays healthy they’ll be doing very well. With Perry Jones added to the mix they even have depth in the forward spot. This team will suffer in the regular season because they will not be the machine they usually are, but they will be a better playoff team – isn’t that the whole point?

  2. RoaringThunder says:

    As any OKC fan I was stunned by the news, but in all actuality I believe Harden didnt want to be around anyways. Like stated he was offered along with Serge but chose not to sign meaning his heart is in the money and not about winning a ring. OKC has being building towards winning championship(s) and thusfore want players that want to win. Serge understood that and was highly grateful to be re-signed, plus playing the role he did with Spain has elevated his game. Now for the trade itself it makes total sense, garnering 2 1st round picks plus to good perimeter players that are coming to an organization that has proven itself to be a winner. I believe the Thunder are still contenders and have the foundation set to move forward with added pieces in place and get those boys on board with the team concepts. Good move for both teams. THUNDER UP!!!!

  3. Sam says:

    I watched every possession when Harden was guarding kobe in the playoffs last year. Harden was excellent, contesting kobe’s fades and hesitation dribbles and making him visibly annoyed. if not for the refs giving kobe his ‘kobe fouls’ harden would be getting praised for his defensive intensity. His offensive efficiency will drop, as he doenst have 2 of the 10 best players beside him anymore, but Harden will be a force to be reckoned with, on both sides of the ball (if he commits to defense). Lin better learn to play off the ball a little more effectively, or this could be a sour marriage.

  4. Thunder fan says:

    Andjeremy lamb averaged 20 a game in the pre season so he can score as well!!

  5. Thunder fan says:

    Martin last year was decent but the year before that he was top 5 in 3′s made and free throws made so he can score there’s no doubt about it

  6. IN THE END, THE MIAMI HEAT ARE REPEATING! THE DYNASTY HAS BEGUN, AND KING JAMES IS ABOUT TO EAT!

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      I admit the Miami Heat have a great chance of repeating. Ray Allen (for example) was GREAT today coming off the bench in today’s opener against Boston, wasn’t he??? Miami needed more depth and they got it. I’m glad they’re in the East. OKC should represent the West again.

  7. albert says:

    whats so funny about this is that Kevin Martin is a better player than Harden! hahaha

  8. Jarek says:

    Bad move for the thunder lamb is good but not that good, harden will be extremely missed in OC

  9. John Doe says:

    This was the right move. Avoiding heavy luxury tax, having Eric Maynor back to run the second unit, having a scorer in Kevin Martin, pretty good looking rookies in perry jones and jeremy lamb. And a couple more picks. I hope Harden will have a good time in Houston – and will even be a good player there (and not just against the second units or with Durant and Westbrook)…

  10. okc knock out says:

    GO LAKERS. WHAT AN A ,,,,, TO BE NBA FANS IN A SMALL CITY.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Yah??? Last time I checked, OKC can be considered a “small city” or “small market” but so what??? Their arena is as loud as any arena in the entire NBA. Remember the decibel loudness measures they’ve done before in those SOLD-OUT arenas?? Too much emphasis is put on whether a team is in a small or big market. What matters is how good the TEAM is, regardless of where they play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “GO LAKERS?” Really??? Really??? Really??? Last time I checked, the Lakers lost the season opening game AT HOME against DALLAS (without an injured NOWITZKI). Kobe was pathetic and ball-hogging as usual. Dwight can’t make a free-throw to save his life. Pau Gasol continues to look like Vlade Divac. The only reason I’m posting about the Lakers continuing failure to WIN ANY GAME on this discussion forum … is because writers haven’t posted an online article yet today after the Lakers’ pathetic home loss. Maybe some of those writers still refuse to accept the FACT that the Lakers are overrated. The Lakers are not in the top ten in “power rankings” or whatever. I told all of you this would happen. Whether you’re a Laker fan or not, you delusional writers that continue to praise the Lakers like they’re some sort of contender … are eating your own words/predictions/projected rankings. IT’S ALL OVER FOR THE LAKERS. They probably won’t even make the playoffs.

  11. hammer time says:

    okc is in trouble

  12. rookie expert says:

    This trade totally changes the game playing style in okc’s point of view for the last couple of minutes, from three spearheads with penetrating power to better spacing for KD and Westbrook to dominate their clutch time plays.

    This change will be fun to watch as an okc fans.

  13. Lehm says:

    I’m an OKC resident and fan. I watch every Thunder game. What these outside the city “experts” come up with is not what is going to happen in my opinion. Harden was on the floor with Durant or Westbrook most of the time. If they were not on the floor that is because Harden was in with the entire second unit and Scott Brooks felt confident he could handle it alone. That means the other team had their entire second unit on the floor as well. This is where everyone gets confused. Harden excels when faced against 2nd units, and also when other defense are double teaming or having to defend Durant and/or Westbrook as well. In every situation last season, when Harden was matched up with a competent first team defender he could not produce his normal results….example being Miami series. Houston is going to throw him out there as a starter and he’s going to get the best defenders in the league and it’s going to be frustrating for him and the fans there. At this point, he will either evolve and improve and step up his game or he will flake out like he did many times in important moments during the last few seasons/playoffs. OKC got the better side of this deal. As stated before, Kevin Martin led Houston in scoring and dealt with every other teams top defenders. Match him up with Durant/Westbrook next to him and he will only improve and have an easier time scoring. Lamb will turn into another top draft pick molded by our OKC organization and will grow with PJ3, Reggie Jackson at PG, and next years first rounders that we pick up. This will lead to a stronger team with a deeper bench and stronger more consistent scoring all around. Good job Presti, go Thunder!

  14. Carlo says:

    It’s not about James Harden – Kevin Martin is’t all about the youngster Jeremy Lamb :”( nice pick up thunder… :””’((((

  15. Dave says:

    lol at people think KMart is better scorer then Harden..Overall best player and all star caliber is Harden..KMart is weak and defense is horrible..bad trade for OKC..

  16. Leonard says:

    I think this was a great move for okc, Martin is a great scorer, he was the number one scorer on his team. Now Having a durrant and a westbrook to open up the the floor will be better for his game.

  17. KojinSagara says:

    Here is my issue with the trade. You are basically requiring Martin to have his best season ever in order to justify this trade. And even if he does, his defensive liability will be a big problem against the likes of wade, lebron, and especially kobe. Then the thunder will have to rely more heavily on westbrook to run the offense, and we all know that he is not there yet when it comes to being an actual point gaurd. Harden helped mask Westbrook’s tendancy to make bad decisions with the ball and allowed russell to be an off ball scorer, where he is better suited this point in his career. In addition, Harden’s efficiancy was key when you had players like westbrook and Durant taking all the shots. Kevin will need to take shots from the Big Two in OKC and as a result they will be worse offensively. I think the edge they had to keep the Lakers in check is officially gone, and it will cost them the Finals this year and next year. And what if Martin does well? he’s gonna want the same amount of money that Harden wanted from the thunder, and they will be in this situaiton again, so what would have been the point? Oh, maybe they wanted a “worse” Harden so they have the leverage to tell him he doesn’t deserve that kind of deal because of his track record on teams. Smooth move, Presti.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Check Kevin Martin’s career stats. His track record (offensively) is JUST AS GOOD as the overrated DWIGHT HOWARD. 18.4 PPG career for Martin AND Howard. Great tracks records!! Stop bring up Kobe, the “mamba”. He was PATHETIC in today’s NBA season opener against Dallas. He will be even more pathetic as the season continues. Why? Kobe was 11-14 from the field today. There is no way in hell he can keep shooting that well for an 82-game season. Thus, his numbers will dwindle more and more and more and more. Today’s Kobe Bryant is EASY to guard. Dallas defeated the Lakers rather easily today. Kobe hardly impacted the game at all. Hell, Kendall Gill could come out of retirement and guard the new Kobe rather easily.

  18. McKinley says:

    The road to that 17th Title just got a little easier. It really does not matter. The Lakers are winning that title. OKC just got weaker. All will once again be right in the Universe!

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      That’s why the Lakers lost today to to Dallas (without Nowitzki and Chris Kaman [a potential all-star])??? If the Lakers can’t win now, how the hell are they going to win later in the season? Especially when certain teams get healthier? If you can’t beat Dallas with Dirk, how the hell are you going to beat Dallas with Dirk??? Lakers will be lucky to make the playoffs; I’ve been saying that all along .. ever since I saw Kobe’s PATHETIC display in the 2012 Olympics. Damn, I was RIGHT!!!

      • YearZeroNIN says:

        TYPO!! I MEANT: If you can’t beat Dallas WITHOUT Dirk, how the hell are you going to beat Dallas WITH Dirk???

  19. Tom Jeff says:

    Moves like this make you wonder whether there is not a hidden hand that controls many outcomes in NBA. Its d
    isappointing to me.

  20. ……………………….DONT FORGET ABOUT THE SPURS………………………………………..

  21. Oneil says:

    Kevin Martin is an excellent scorer and Jeremy Lamb has great potential—especially with a young but experienced core there to guide him.

    Less not forget Harden didn’t show up for the Finals.

  22. NEET says:

    You gave away one of your best playmakers on the team and are left with 3 scorers. And yes Westbrook isn’t a point guard because we all know too well he’s a shooting guard disguised as one. We’ll just see how all of this will fare out because Harden was a big catalyst for OKC’s offense.

  23. Peewee says:

    i dont know but i dont believe this is a stupid trade. just let the season start and we will see who’s the winner of this trade and let the years go by and we will see how the acquired draft picks from the trade result to.. Presti is a master during draft night. Well good luck to both teams. GO CELTICS!

  24. Karlo Garcia says:

    Imagine if the Thunder did the business earlier how would the Harden contract pan out. Maybe Harden would have stayed but then again he would have wanted to b traded. Time will tell i guess if the Thunder made the right decision or not! Or the Rockets got the best of it!

  25. Evan Buntoro says:

    Funny how people made themselves expert by forecasting something here, there and everywhere. Enjoy the basketball and see what happens, folks. Take it easy

  26. pakyaw says:

    i think HARDEN really wants out in OKC…OKC offered him 52 mil for 4yrs,and he turned it down…for me that’s not a bad offer,OKC have no choice….

  27. Bret says:

    I honestly think this trade is a big win for OKC! They’ve got a scorer who can play now to replace Harden in the short-term, they’ve got a SG with loads of potential to develop for the future, they’ve got two first round pics, plus the second rounder is from Charlotte, so its going to be early in the second round, great place to find a guy in Europe to stash away for later. Plus, they opened up more room for Maynor to run the offense. Say what you want about Harden, but I think he’s a solid player who’s over-rated based on the scenario he played in. Sure, you can point to the stats showing that he improved offensive effeciency when both RW and KD were on the bench, but he was playing against second units for those whopping 7.5 min/game. I think he’s going to be in for shock to see how much more difficult it is when you’re the first option. As for Martin, his numbers may have declined a bit in Houston, but when he’s the third option, he’s going to be very effective. Basically, I think Houston has made some very questionable moves this year and have committed a lot of money to questionable players: Lin, Harden, and Asik. Makes me wonder if McHale is putting his thumbprint on things a bit. Afterall, I watched him screw things up for the Wolve for many, many years!!

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Yah, I question some of Houston’s other moves. I’m surprised they did not keep … who was it … Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert. Right? Why didn’t they at least keep one of those defensive centers? I know they added Lin and now Harden … so they’re going to go small this time … and I know we no longer have a league full of low-post dominant big-men that can average 22-29 PPG … thus, Houston figured it’s time to go small … but they should’ve at least kept either Camby or Dalembert. You still need defense.

  28. Chris says:

    You’re all talking about what a great playmaker Harden was last year. Why was that? Because Maynor was injured and Harden slid into that role nicely but Maynor is a phenomenal playmaker and the additions of Martin & Lamb are fantastic. Durant and Westbrook are the youngest superstars in the league by far and even if OKC falls short this season, which they may not, they will be nearly unstoppable within the next two years.

  29. AK says:

    DAMN. The Thunder just lost a huge part of their heart and soul. Harden is so young he was gonna be a lot better than he is now in the future. The biggest mistake the Thunder made was signing Ibaka to a long term bick buck contract over Harden. Seriously they chose to keep Ibaka over Harden, that’s what it boils down to. And it’s a joke. When Harden dominates in the future, they will wish they had sacrificed Ibaka’s defence and rebounding for what Harden will become. But good for him he’s now in a starting spot, and will have the chance to elevate his game to the next level.

    • Ben says:

      They offered Ibaka and Harden the same contract at the same time. Ibaka took it, Harden didn’t. So no, that isn’t what it boils down to at all.

      In any event, Ibaka was the more important one to keep for OKC based on tam balance.

  30. Dann says:

    Here we go again, relying too much on the stats presented. Of course Martin’s stats last season wasn’t good because he had an injury and he is trying to bring the team while Harden was just a backup, he must be picky about his shot attempts because we all know that Durant and Westbrook was their main catalyst of their offense. Now let’s see what can Harden do now that he is already becoming the star of Houston. Also Jeremy Lamb is a big loss, a promising young player got involved in that trade. So I shall say the Thunder won the deal.

  31. specialfriedrice says:

    Martin is not a a good shooter and never has been, i remeber him from the years in SAC and i remeber saying to myself, what the H is this team doing letting this average joe shot as many shots as Kobe, and we all know how well SAC has done post Webber time, the only hope for the future for OKC is the that Lamb develops or else this trade was a joke. Houston will be laughing all the way to the bank, i would be willing to bet they will resign Harden for less then Kevin Martins contract…grats to you OKC way to mess up a great team

    • me_again says:

      I agree. IMO Kmart is one of the worst in terms of defending position 2′s. If I were Mike Brown during the WCF, I would go to Kobe every possession and the mamba would just eat Kmart alive.
      I remembered during the WCF last season, both Harden and Thabo switched off guarding Kobe, and were very efficient doing so.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Well, specialfriedrice, if you look at Kevin Martin’s career stats, I will half-way agree with you. Kevin Martin is a streaky shoot … however, he is a pure shooter. I think he had a couple seasons with Sacarmento where he was .450 to .485 FG%. For a shooting guard, that is GOOD. If a shooting guard can get close to 50%, that is considered just fine. Plus, I know I said this before, but allow me to remind you that last season … Kevin Martin lit up OKC. He shot the ball with great efficiency, particularly in one game where he caught fire … if I recall correctly. ;-)

  32. Mitch says:

    Perry Jones III now has a bit more space to develop…

  33. Yurk says:

    If Lamb does what he did in summer leauge, then the Thunder picked up a great deal… Added a great starting two guard, and a sixth man that will most likely spread the floor as much as Harden did… They have gotten deeper with the two for one.

  34. Bob says:

    Funny. Using stats to justify the most one sided trade in a long time The Thunder just got a perimeter game and upgraded their offense tremendously. They also saved their cap space.

  35. JERBY says:

    they should have traded harden to Miami for Udonis Haslem

  36. ToddyTwoTime says:

    harden was a great scorer, but how did he look after that artest elbow? awfull. that could have affected his carrer, this guy was poision in the playoffs, poision in the olympics. they get a great scorer in martin, a ? in lamb but im sure he will be good with his surroundings and 2 first round picks that could be good if the rokets play bad they could b some high picks that only make them better. the thunder killed this tade PERIOD

  37. Yave says:

    This Harden trade was unexpected.At first I thought Presti was drinking to much but thinking about it this was a pretty decent trade.First OKC desnt have to worry anymore about the contract problems of James Hardens.Second If Harden left OKC in free agency the Thunder wouldnt have gotten anything in return.So with this trade they got an allstar and a great shooter with Kevin Martin.They also got a good prospect in Jeremy Lamb who can be a major contributer to this team.They also got 2 future 1st round draft picks which as stated at the beginning of the article Sam Presti has done very well with 1st round draft picks(Look at KD,Westbrook and Harden(who got traded).So to me both teams got good trades(now the Rockets have Jeremy Lin and James Harden which,if Lin can keep doin what he did in NY and Harden stays like himself,can be one of the best backcourts in the league and be a playoff contending team).OKC still has KD and Westbrook ,which I think, they are still a champinship contending team.And the Rockets are alot better.So win-win situation for everyone.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Exactly. You hit the nail right on the head, son. The trade looks great for both teams and all the players involved.

  38. gabe says:

    Harden and martin are about equal offensively (martin the better shooter although hardens the better slasher) but martin may be the worst starting sg at defense in the nba. he’s going to have trouble with kobe.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      gabe, NOT IF Kobe plays like he did in the 2012 Olympics. If Kobe plays pathetically like that, hell Kendall Gill could come out of retirement and lock-down slow-poke Kobe.

    • me_again says:

      Thank you! Finally someone pointed it out. IMO Kmart is one of the worst in terms of defending position 2′s. In I were Mike Brown during the WCF, I would go to Kobe every possession and the mamba would just eat Kmart alive.
      I remembered during the WCF last season, both Harden and Thabo switched off guarding Kobe, and were very efficient doing so.

  39. Nico says:

    This article has really pissed me off Harden played with two of the best players in the league and most of the time he played against bench players Harden is a little over rated. OKC have hit the jackpot with Lamb and Martin, kmart is one of the best scorers in the league, two season ago he was third in threes made and first in free throws made there aren’t many players who have ever done that in one season. This trade makes OkC way better I haven’t even talked about Lamb he is a mini kmart with a sweet jumper and under rated defense.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      YES!! Somebody tell this John Schuhmann piece of trash writer this about Kevin Martin!!! Martin is still in his 20s!!!! He is still in his prime!!

  40. NBA EXPERT! I KNOW EVERYTHING! says:

    stupid trade

  41. Game Time says:

    We don’t know that they will suffer. Martin is a very good scorer and depending on how he learns OKC’s system he could make them even stronger than last year. Plus Jermey Lamb is going to grow even faster by practicing with Durant and Westbrook. OKC made the right move.

  42. LBJFAN4LYFE says:

    THEY DID THIS TO GIVE THE POINT TO ERIC MAYNOR, he will handle the ball and that’s why it was easy for them to trade harden away.

    i’m guessing to might even put maynor at the point and westbrook and sg to switch it up

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      When Maynor is healthy, that’s exactly what OKC experimented with every now and then, because Westbrook is considered a “hybrid” guard. A scorer with point guard abilities.

  43. je says:

    There is no guarantee this will even be better for the thunder in the long run…lamb may be young but harden is already proven at the age of 23 – who knows how good he could be in three years, not to mention that the Thunder as a team were forging a very strong core that probably would have been unstoppable in 2-3 years with durant westbrook ibaka harden at the center of it all. This could work out…but nonetheless i think they just gave up on a sure thing.

    As for this season no question they are going to be worse – you add 2 new player 1 declining 1 still too young and lose 6th man of the year? Thunder deff just lowered their chances at a title but the saddest thing is this is best for Miami…won’t have to deal with vengeful harden who woulda had 1 more season under his belt + memory of the finals. The Lakers look terrible so far and you gotta keep in mind that even if they become cohesive and their bench gets on track and they have no major injuries…thunder still match up better with the lakers than the heat do – OKC still wins the West this year

  44. RMO says:

    At least sign him for 1 yr max deal instead of trading him.

  45. Jordan says:

    Does anyone else see another major problem here – Kmart will want to start. He is a starter and I don’t think he will be too happy coming off the bench. I thought Harden was a fool to reject whatever offer he was given, and he clearly want’s money over a championship, so serves him right to be put onto the Rockets. I just don’t see Kmart staying with OKC in the long run… or maybe they will start him. Have to wait and see.

  46. Neil Young says:

    Harden let his team down in the Finals, don’t forget that. And is Martin now suddenly a bad offensive player? I think he has been more consistent through his career, no? I know that the Thunder scored the biggest point differential when shooting at least 39 percent after Mondays when the opposing team wears Reeboks, but useless stats will not help say that the Thunder will be such a worse off team without him. Maybe Durant is poised to go even farther, and he is the real deal. So is Westbrook. And a solid defense. and Perry, the freak of nature. They get the best end of the deal, Martin, Lamb, and a future first round pick, all without having to pay Harden a ridiculous salary and break the bank to keep the “big three” or whatever together. Its another smart move from Presti. Don’t do the trendy thing, do what is saavy management.

    Harden will definitely thrive for Houston, and we will really be able to better judge his abilities as a full time starter, and make sure he isn’t just Jamal Crawford with a “cool” haircut. Lin will have his own issues, probably relating to the fact he hasn’t played notably for more than 6 games in his entire career. Let’s let consistency and play speak for a whole regular season before we get too excited. Royce White is serious stuff, so look out for him contributing as much as these guys this year.

  47. Peewee says:

    For me kmart would do better with the thunder simply because the defense would not be so tight with him for the reason russel and KD would be the priorities of the opposing teams. Kmart would score 20 in a quarter if you have poor defense on him and he had already experience how to carry the load for a team. For james harden the trade would benefit him for his career he could prove himself not just as a contributor but to be a go to guy more than what he had on the OKC. jeremy lamb and the picks were really the upside for this deal i hink the thunder can still win the western conference title. PJ3 would also contribute to this team this season. They could try KD on 2 and PJ3 on SF just a thought. peace to you all! GO CELTICS!

  48. theaceindahole says:

    the thing that will be interesting to see is will kmart adapt to coming off the bench like Jhard did if not there might be a problem

    • QuestionMark says:

      This will be better for OKC and Martin, his effeciency will go up, and Harden’s will go down since he will be starting and he will be the first scoring option for Houston. I don’t know if Martin can go back to his old self but he can certainly still score 15+ pts and he is still a better shooter than Harden. Lamb is a promising prospect, who has been compared to Reggie Miller, he has the potential to be a great defender as well a great shooter, he has decent ball handling skills and playmaking skills which can improve. I think if Westbrook can be more of a playmaker and find shooters like Lamb and Martin and Durant open, this team can be dangerous, but this trade helps OKC in the long run, they get draft picks, which can be used to potentially get a steal in the draft like Perry Jones, or package them in a trade. When K-Mart was on the Rockets he got most of the attention from opposing defenses, now he has KD and Westbrook to play with, meaning he will get tons of more open shots. In a few years, the Heat will be the new Celtics, aging superstars who has the potential to win more championships, but doesn’t quite get there, and OKC will be at the top. Best case scenario for OKC: Lamb and Perry Jones plays to their potential, Martin plays like he always does and KD, Westbrook and Ibaka take their game up a notch and they win a ring, Worst case scenario: It takes Lamb and Jones time to grow, and Martin struggles, but either way, this trade sets OKC up for future championships if they keep their core intact.

  49. Me says:

    Congratulations to the LA Lakers for winning the West
    How will Westbrook and Martin manage with just one ball?

    • larry oconnor says:

      Westbrook gets it and Martin only gets what Russell allows him to have. Alpha dog….Russell Westbrook!

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      How the hell do you think Westbrook and Harden managed SO WELL with just one ball??? Now, Martin can spread the floor a little better allowing Westbrook and Maynor to handle point guard duties.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Me. The LA Lakers are overrated pieces of trash. Don’t let the media garbage influence who you think will win the West. The LA Clippers are WAY BETTER than the Lakers.

      • lafan says:

        The clippers are terrible, blake griffin is one of the most one dimensional players i have ever seen, and i watched shaq

  50. James G says:

    Quietly, everybody who is contending in the Western Conference in celebrating….Harden was the “Glue” to the Thunder, as he will be the “Glue” to the Rockets…….Guess this move means no more shooting gaurd duties for Durrant either…..Hmmm, wonder if Westbrook will start looking over “his” shoulder…..Lamb could be “another” Westbrook, without the attitude….just saying…..hay My NYKs would make room for Westbrook, being that OKC likes “stiffs” for big men(check Perkins) we can give them Amare…..just asying…..

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Quietly, everybody in the Western Conference is celebrating … because the Thunder are now the favorites to win it all … the Rockets have upgraded as well … hopefully this will ensure the Lakers don’t make the playoffs … so other West teams can have a chance at taking the Lakers’ supposed playoff spot.

  51. bball japan says:

    I understand that this article is based on offence but the thunder defense at the 2 spot may increase. Thabo is a solid defender and will probably remain the starter. Kmart is not the defensive liability harden was. Kmart has guarded starters for many years now and is a proven player. Kmart may not be too much of a offensive downgrade if he can return to form. He has played well so far in the Rockets pre-season. Eric Maynor’s return made Cooks presence expendable but they may miss his 3 pointers of the bench. and Thabeet better hold Aldrich’s at least on the defensive end or he will be surely missed. He played a similar role to Omer Asik last year, so it will be interesting to see how they play together at the rockets. This will also means the thunder will play small alot more with kd at pf.

    • steppx says:

      @necros………….do i have to explain this all to you? Who did martin play with? and for what coach? and who did harden play for? compare who was on the court. Yes harden is a good player, but not great. The point is he had a big advantage playing where he did……..he drew less top defenders for one thing, something that wont happen now.

      • Realist1234 says:

        Read the article. Harden was more of a catalyst offensively than Westbrook.

      • YearZeroNIN says:

        Realist1234, really??? Really??? Really??? Really??? No, basically Durant is OKC’s first option, and Westbrook is the second option, and Harden was the THIRD offensive option/catalyst.

  52. Banks says:

    But I think people are forgetting how poor Harden plays against the Miami Heat, and besides what was the BEST MOVE FOR JAMES HARDEN? He needed to be a starter, just like O.J. Mayo.

    Russell and Kevin made the allstar game, Harden didn’t.. I guarantee this year he does. Kevin Martin will be great with Russell and Kevin around him. Jeremy Lamb and Perry will be great in a few years. Durant and Russell are only 23….this is for the future…..once wade get a little older, once Kobe retires, this sets up OKC

    • J says:

      Meh lakers with all their cap space they’ll have in two years will just go buy Lebron James or some other super super star.

      • Banks says:

        Lebron will most likely go back to Cleveland with Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and what ever other rookies develop and are drafted in this time frame of 2 years……

      • YearZeroNIN says:

        But Leborn doesn’t want money; he just wants to win.

  53. bball japan says:

    I understand that this article is based on offence but the thunder defense at the 2 spot may increase. Thabo is a solid defender and will probably remain the starter. Kmart is not the defensive liability harden was. Kmart has guarded starters for many years now and is a proven player. Kmart may not be too much of a offensive downgrade if he can return to form. He has played well so far in the Rockets pre-season. Eric Maynor’s return made Cooks presence expendable but they may miss his 3 pointers of the bench. and Thabeet better hold Aldrich’s at least on the defensive end or he will be surely missed. He played a similar role to Omer Asik last year, so it will be interesting to see how they play together at the rockets.

    • Yummy says:

      Did you just say K-mart will not be a liability on defense? I don’t think you’ve ever watched him play if you actually believe that. He’s one of the worst defenders at any position. James Harden is 10x the defender that K-mart is. Cole Aldrich didn’t even get playing time except for the garbage time at the end of quarters. You should really look into your info before you start saying things here.

    • me_again says:

      I beg to differ! Kmart is probably one of the worst in terms of defending position 2′s. In I were Mike Brown during the WCF, I would go to Kobe every possession and the mamba would just eat Kmart alive.
      I remembered during the WCF last season, both Harden and Thabo switched off guarding Kobe, and were very efficient doing so.

      • lafan says:

        mamba eats everyone alive so thts not really fair to say

      • amitpal says:

        Both harden and kevin r defensive liabilities. But kevin is longer than james. At 6’7 and long arms kevin is a long dude which would probably make him the better defender although not by much. And by the way it was kevin durant who guarded kobe at the end of games and shut him down. Last time I checked kevin is still on the tean.

  54. Ray says:

    Wow..totally shocked the Thunder pulled the plug on James Harden BUT this move will make them better in the “long run”. We basically got Lamb and 2 first round picks for James Harden, which isnt a bad trade at all. BUT it doesnt make us better this year and in my opinion doesnt make us the best team in the West anymore. We will sorely miss Hardens playmaking and ability to take over games down the stretch in big moments. I like Kevin Martin, but his game has declined over the last couple of years and isnt the playmaker nor does he draw the fouls that James could. Jeremy Lamb is the key to this trade. In my opinion he’s the best player in the trade, but the most inexperienced, which adds to my earlier comment that this will make us better in the “long run”. He is the ultimate replacement for Thabo in a couple years. The difference for us this season will be the lakers really had no one to check James Harden coming off the bench and was a BIG difference in the series against them. Martin is a scorer on the decline, Lamb isnt ready to contribute right now on a championship aspiring team, and the two picks are great, but doesnt help us “this year” unless we make another move later in the season which is totally possible. But in hindsight for the “long run”, Westbrook, Lamb, Kd, Serge, Pj3, Thabeet, Manor, Jackson, 2 first round picks, are a dangerous nucleus for the future. Only problem is our future is NOW?!..#thunderup

    • ko0kie says:

      you just named the one thing kevin martin is great at.. drawing fouls.. if he’s considered elite in any category there it is.

    • Realist1234 says:

      Jeremy Lamb will probably never be as efficient as James Harden. Very few guards get to that level of offensive efficiency.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Ray, nahhhhhhhhhhhh. Kevin Martin is what? 29 years old? He’s still in his PRIME. Watch! Martin will be rejuvenated by this trade along with the aspect of returning to the playoffs. If OKC puts Martin in the starting lineup, I forsee him averaging at least 20 PPG. His consistency will balance out better than Harden did (especially in the 2012 NBA Finals where Harden performed poorly down the stretch in BIG MOMENTS). This trade makes OKC Thunder the favorite to win the 2013 NBA Championship!!!

  55. Needbig says:

    This is the last shoe to drop from the Perkins trade and signing, which gobbled up cap space and payroll in the interest of “getting tougher.” Let’s see if Perkins can make it work.

    • Realist1234 says:

      They can amnesty him. I have no idea why they don’t.

      • YearZeroNIN says:

        Realist1234, they want to keep Perkins. Why? For interior defense combined with Serge Ibaka’s incredible shot-blocking ability. Now do you have any idea why they choose to keep Perkins????

  56. Necros says:

    @Steppx

    Harden played about 7 1/2 minutes per game with neither Kevin Durant nor Russell Westbrook on the floor with him. And he still managed to keep the offense humming and keep the scoreboard moving in the right direction in those minutes.

    Says so right in the article, read it next time.

    • YearZeroNIN says:

      Necros, PFFFFFTT!!! Kevin Martin ALSO played way more minutes than 7 1/2 with neither Durant nor Westbrook. Yet, Martin still managed to average 17.1 PPG (more than Harden). Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, interesting.

    • amitpal says:

      Dont forget though harden was always playing against the second unit in those minutes. Not trying to take anything away from harden but he was always playing backups which could makw a difference.

  57. steppx says:

    does it not occur to these so called experts, that Harden had the HUGE advantage of Kevin Durant next to him? Who did poor Kmart have?

    add to that a couple first round picks AND the stunningly promising stud Jeremy Lamb…and this was another coup by Presti.

    • Realist1234 says:

      Did you not read the article where it says when Harden was on the floor without Westbrook or Durant, they had a 109 offensive effeciency rating? And when Harden was on the bench, they averaged a pedestrian 99.3 rating?

      Kevin Martin is older and on the decline. If baseball’s taught us anything it’s that players don’t suddenly get better at the end of their careers without performance enhancing drugs.

      • YearZeroNIN says:

        Realist1234, incorrection!! Martin is what? 29 years old? Kevin Martin is in his prime NOW. Yes, Harden is younger, but Martin is capable of averaging 20-25 PPG. Martin is on THE RISE!! Durant, Westbrook, and Martin are OKC’s new “BIG 3.” This is the radical offensive powerhouse that will lead them to the 2013 NBA Finals … and probably to the 2013 NBA Championship. As far as those stats that this John Schuhmann pulled out of god knows where … don’t read too deeply into stats like that. He’s just trying to hide the fact that Kevin Martin is an EXCELLENT edition to the STARTING LINEUP of the OKC Thunder. I do see a more meaningful stat that Harden had a better FG percentage than Martin (last season). However, Martin is still more consistent than Harden. Harden will be awesome with the Rockets … but Martin will show consistency that was lacking from Harden in the playoffs last year (or especially Harden’s lack of production and poor FG percentage during the 2012 NBA Finals.

      • MHM 35 says:

        YearZeroNIN I think you mean “correction”. Work on your debate skills man, people don’t take you seriously if you trip over your first five words.

        OKC definitely got a great package with the combination of players they got, but I still think they’re going to miss Harden. Rockets get a kid who is only going to get better. I wouldn’t be surprised if he matches Martin’s 20-25 points you’re projecting. He may even exceed it often. Harden is a Top 25 player. Where does Kevin Martin lie? 30? 35? Aw what the heck I know people are gonna be reeling at the fact I say Harden is a Top 25 as it is, but the only bench player I know that puts more fear into a team is Jason Terry (and possibly Ray Allen now that he’s a bench player).

      • YearZeroNIN says:

        MHM 35, I apologize. I said “incorrection” on purpose as a joke. Instead of writing “incorrect,” I wanted to write “incorrection” as a joke. I got it from watching a cartoon episode of Ed, Edd, and Eddy. Ed exclaimed, “incorrection” in a segment, which I thought was funny as hell instead of just saying “incorrect.” But I know my sense of humour is erratic and maybe even inappropriate, so I apologize!!!

    • larry oconnor says:

      exactly right. Let’s see how Harden does when he is the first option.

    • Angelo says:

      i think it was a fair trade for both side. it’ll just come down to adjustments. it’ll be easier for the rockets because harden is a great player with or without the ball. and he was a bench player about to start and not another way around. the question would be if harden could handle being the first offensive option from the first whistle. unlike when he was in okc where he wrecked opponent’s second units. okc could also benefit greatly from this trade. martin will be more effective in my opinion because he will be freed of offensive burden which he had been carrying since his sacramento time. if he will be in the second unit, he will have a solid pg on maynor. and it’s not just Martin whom they got. they also have a young and promising Lamb. and 2 future 1st round draft picks.

      Now about Perkins. I was also thinking why the okc just won’t get rid of him through trade or amnesty. he is an offensive liability. it wasn’t that apparent when he was in boston because he was with KG down low. but it was obviously painful against miami last year. neither ibaka nor perk could punish the heat for going small. unacceptable. perk couldn’t defend against bosh because bosh was faster, can put it to the floor and has the range. so he had to go, right? but then Dwight came to the West with LA. then perk became indispensable because of his post defense. but eventhough they would be able to beat LA, they will face a better heat in the finals. unless perk or serge develop a more consistent back-to-the basket moves and be a real threat offensively in the paint, then it’ll just be a futile effort.

      • Brett says:

        Good points. Thunder has been trying to solve the center dilemma without breaking the bank. Thabeet, Orton (maybe) and Perry Jones III at PF will get looks. We had Tyson Chandler for a half a second once.