James Harden says he tries to come up with something innovative every offseason, something more creative than his latest move.
Two years ago, Harden perfected the step-back jumper. Last summer, the Houston Rockets guard then perfected the side step-back jumper. In a Q&A session Friday with young fans at a promotional event attended by local Houston media, Harden said he will be working on yet another move this summer, and this one might make referees do a double take.
Asked by one kid why he started to do “that traveling step-back,” Harden responded: “In the NBA, especially at the highest level of basketball, you got to find ways to get better every single year. You got to find ways to create an advantage every single year. And that’s what I’m doing. It’s not a travel.
“This year, I’m going to come up with something more creative and it’s gonna look like a travel but it’s not. Honestly! Even when I was on a tour, in Europe or China or even when I’m here in the U.S., I see kids your guys’ age that are working on step-backs, working on moves, because it’s going to gain you an opportunity to be better than the rest of your peers. And that’s what I’m going for.
“So until they call it a travel, if they start calling it, I’ll continue to find ways and find ways to get creative and make my impact on the game.”
This year, Harden will be tasked with adjusting to new backcourt mate Russell Westbrook. Harden said he was confident the Rockets’ new addition would fit in seamlessly.
“None. None. None,” he said when asked of any adjustments he would need to make. “We played with each other in the NBA and the (2012) Olympics and all that. When you have talent like that, it works itself out. You communicate. You go out there and compete possession by possession. You figure things out. Throughout the course of the season, you figure things out. That’s just what it is.
“When you have talent, you have guys with IQ, you have guys willing to sacrifice, it always works itself out.”
Harden said Houston welcomes Westbrook “with open arms.”
“With the group that we already have and the things we already accomplished, it should be an easy transition for him to be incorporated right in, and things are going to go,” Harden said.