Brooklyn Nets All-Star James Harden‘s conditioning has been an issue for him throughout his career. He came into training camp with the Houston Rockets last year, noticeably heavier than he was the previous season.
Harden’s conditioning could have contributed to the nagging hamstring injury that he dealt with in 2020, which ultimately contributed to the Nets early playoff exit in the second round to the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.
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James Harden Details His Health Heading Into 2021 Season
In 2021, Harden wants to make sure that he is in peak shape so that he can be available for the Nets the entire season, and hopefully help lead his team to a championship.
“Conditioning is going to be my main focus. I’m still trying to basically get healthy from my hamstring injury, which I was dealing with for a few months,” Harden said to Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated.
“So I want to make sure I’m completely healed and strong enough so I can go out there and completely be myself. My rehab is going very, very well, and my getting my conditioning right is a big part of that.”
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James Harden Gets Candid About His Rockets Exit
The dust has settled since the Harden trade and after selecting top prospect Jalen Green with the second pick in this year’s NBA draft Houston seems to officially have turned the page on the Harden era. Harden on the other hand will never be able to quite turn the page on Houston. The fact that he never delivered a championship to the city that adopted him as their own is something that still doesn’t sit right with the 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player.
“Houston will always hold a special place in my heart. I spent the last nine years there. On the court, it was what it was. I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t bring a championship there because that’s what I put the jersey on for every single game,” Harden continued.
“But the community work really lets me see the impact I can have on the city. We’ve been through some tough times with [Hurricane Harvey] and all types of things. And just being able to come back now and be there for people and support them, I’m going to do that as long as I can.”
James Harden Had Ugly Exit From Houston
Heading into the beginning of the 2020 season, it was clear that Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was transitioning the franchise into a new era. Mike D’Antoni, who had been the Rockets head coach since 2016 had moved on to join Steve Nash’s Brooklyn Nets coaching staff. Russell Westbrook had been traded to the Washington Wizards for John Wall, and much of the roster that was one win away from the NBA Finals in 2018 had moved on. The lone star left was Harden and he wanted out too.
Harden and the Rockets front office fought tooth and nail about his future in Houston, but Fertitta insisted that he wouldn’t move the Rockets’ star until he found a trade that he saw fit for a player of Harden’s caliber. Harden eventually forced his way out of Houston during a post-game press conference when he made his trade request public. Shortly after he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Harden is still seeking that elusive first championship heading into the 2021 season. With all of the Nets stars coming in at full strength, this may be the best opportunity that he has to win it all.