James Harden sometimes hears it about his defensive lapses — and they do happen. But what’s not often talked about when it comes to Harden is how much, how often, and how hard he plays. With Harden just signing a new $118 million contract extension making him the Rockets’ main launcher for the foreseeable future, it’s worth noting that — by the old hard-work lunch-pail standard — James Harden earns his money. Last season Harden played in all 82 regular season games and led the league in total minutes and minutes per game.
Harden played 3,125 minutes during the 2015-16 NBA regular season. The next closest was Kyle Lowry, who played just 2,851 minutes in 77 games. Harden averaged 38.1 mpg whereas Lowry averaged 37.0 mpg. NBA MVP Steph Curry played 2,700 minutes, averaging 34.20 mpg. Harden wrote a letter thanking the Rockets organization and the fans for the money, the faith and the love. “With much love and great respect,” he signed it. Harden puts in the time to prove that respect is real.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 11, 2016