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Brooklyn Nets v Houston Rockets

Source: File – James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets walks onto the court during the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Toyota Center on January 26, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images) / Getty

James Harden balled out last year. Despite falling second to Steph Curry in the MVP race,  Harden proved he was an indomitable threat by scorching defenders on a nightly basis. With a new season on deck and a big contract from adidas, Harden is primed to show us why he’s the premier player in the league. Sound off, James.

From NBA.com:

“You don’t think I can do more?” Harden asks. “Just wait. I’ll show you.” […] “I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

“I know I was the MVP,” Harden said. “That’s 100 percent given all the things that happened last season. Credit the Golden State Warriors for an unbelievable year. They had an unbelievable team, coaching staff, everything. But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs. There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

“To be honest, I thought I had more in the tank when I went out onto the court that night,” he said. “But it was a long, tiring, beat-down season … Playing the most [total] minutes in the league, dealing with so many injuries every single day … It’s a wear-and-tear. It’s a grind. It was so frustrating, because in that Game 5 I turned the ball over 12 times. I pride myself on creating opportunities to score for my team. So those 12 possessions, instead of getting a shot for myself or one of my teammates, I’m giving an extremely talented Golden State offensive team extra possessions. And you just can’t do that in the playoffs. […] So that’s what my offseason has been all about — better conditioning and better preparation for this time.”

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