5 NBA stars who struggled to find success with James Harden at Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five
Modified 13 Nov 2020

James Harden has been a member of the Houston Rockets for the last eight NBA seasons, and the franchise has entered the NBA Playoffs in each of those seasons.

They've had a single first-round exit during Harden's tenure, but the Houston Rockets have not found real success with 'The Beard' in charge of the offense. In this article, we will list the five NBA stars who could not find success with Harden at Houston Rockets.

5 NBA stars who struggled to find success with James Harden at Houston Rockets

Despite a couple of Western Conference Finals appearances in 2015 and 2018, the Houston Rockets could not beat the Golden State Warriors on both the occasions.

Less than a year after their small-ball philosophy, the Houston Rockets now have a different coach, a new GM, and new troubles with their star players.

James Harden has been an incredible performer for the Houston Rockets, but despite their regular-season success, Harden has not been vital in the NBA Playoffs. Of course, the Houston Rockets' failure to reach the NBA Finals in the last eight years is not entirely James Harden's responsibility, but he has been the common denominator.

Last year, the Houston Rockets acquired former MVP Russell Westbrok from the OKC Thunder on a trade that sent Chris Paul to OKC. Though Westbrook averaged 27 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists per game and the record made the postseason with a 44-28 record, they fell in the second round of the NBA Playoffs again.

Now, reports have surfaced about Westbrook wanting to leave Houston to enjoy a similar role to the one he had with OKC. Westbrook would be the third future Hall-of-Fame member that does not continue to play with James Harden in the last two years.

This article will look at the five NBA stars that struggled to find success with James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

Clint Capela

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers

The 26-year-old Swiss center, Clint Capela, was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2014, and was James Harden's teammate for the first six years of his career.

After two years of playing behind Dwight Howard, he became a regular starter in the 2016-17 NBA season.

He averaged 13 points and eight rebounds in his first year as a full-time starter. Capela had two great seasons in the following two years, averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds in the 2017-18 season and 17 points and 13 rebounds per game the following year, with James Harden running the offense.

Capela chemistry with James Harden was good; however, a three-point shooting philosophy had limited touches for Capela, and team success evaded the squad. Capela was essential in the Houston Rockets' seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19, but their post-season runs fell short.

Ultimately, the team decided to go all-out on their small-ball philosophy and traded Capela to the Atlanta Hawks on February 5th 2020.

Dwight Howard

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

Dwight Howard was 27 years old when he arrived in the Houston Rockets in 2013, while a 24-year-old James Harden was starting to become one of the league's top players.

To see these two players working towards team success was surprising. Still, the Houston Rockets were Top-4 seeds in the West during Howard's first two years, and played in the Western Conference Finals in 2015.

Howard averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks per game in three years with James Harden at Houston, but seeing him averaging only 10 shots per game shows something was missing.

Howard left the Houston Rockets due to alleged issues with James Harden.

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Published 13 Nov 2020
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