Houston, we have Harden

Ever since the Houston Rockets acquired James Harden, they knew they had just gotten their franchise player of the future. Throughout his tenure with the Rockets, Harden has been able to establish himself as an All-Star player and has had the ability to be the number one option in a way that he could never do during his time in Oklahoma City playing alongside top tier talents like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Now, following the failed experiment of trying to pair Harden with Dwight Howard, and following Howard's departure from Houston to play for the Atlanta Hawks, there is no question that Houston is Harden's team, and, with the re-negotiation of his contract with the team worth $118 million, it's a price the franchise was more than willing to pay to keep their franchise player happy, and in a Houston uniform until at least 2020.

New look Rockets

Harden has shown flashes of brilliance, but, he is equally prone to blunders on the floor, at times getting too trigger happy and taking bad shots. You certainly cannot put it all on his shoulders, however, as, up until this point, he has not had a wingman of sorts that could share the load and take some of the burden off of "The Beard's" shoulders.

Although Harden will still carry the bulk of the scoring load, the Houston Rockets have done the legwork to acquire some mid-level pieces to balance the overall attack.

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Former New Orleans Pelicans Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon will be suiting up for the Rockets next season. Anderson has been around the league and has played for his share of teams, and, no matter where he's gone, he has been a consistent scorer capable of putting up 20+ point games and pulling down 10+ rebounds per contest. Though he functions best as a 3rd or 4th scoring option, he is always ready, and does not fear taking and making big shots when they count.

With the addition of Gordon, the pair will likely be able to serve the same function for Houston as they did alongside Anthony Davis in New Orleans -- complimenting Harden by filling in the role of 2nd or 3rd scoring option and interchanging on any given night.

Houston has also added depth at the Center position with Nene. While they do have to address the position that was vacated by Howard, they have certainly done a good job in doing so.

Youngster Clint Capela showed some promise last season playing behind Howard, as he was able to hold his own and make a positive impact for his team. It seems he may get his chance to fill the starting Center position, with the veteran Nene stepping in as a backup. While Nene wasn't the same player in Washington as he was initially in Denver, he is a reliable veteran that can put points on the board and grab important rebounds, and while he isn't the player he used to be, he can still contribute in a way that will add value to his new team.

All in all (at least on paper), it would seem that the Rockets organization has done all they can to bounce back from an abysmal regular season last year by securing Harden and putting the complimentary pieces around him to put the franchise back into contention in the stacked Western Conference. Only time will tell if what looks good on paper will ultimately look good on the court, but, at least for the moment, it appears that the Rockets are most certainly lifting off in a positive direction.

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