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News » Harden lives his dream

Harden lives his dream

Harden lives his dream
James Harden knows there will be bigger games ahead, but his first experience in an NBA setting fulfilled a life-long dream.

"I'm here. It's the beginning, yeah, but this is just something I always strived for," said Harden, the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft last month. "I'm so excited to start playing with these guys, getting to know each other on the court as well as off the court so that we can keep building."

Harden is still waiting to make his first pro start, coming off the bench behind guards Shaun Livingston and Kyle Weaver to drop 17 points in just under 22 minutes of playing time. Of all the rookies participating in the Summer League, Harden had the highest scoring total, tying Indiana's Tyler Hansbrough. As the highest-drafted player participating in Orlando, he didn't disappoint onlookers eager to see if he'd hit the ground running.

"James Harden is going to shoot the ball well for us," said Russell Westbrook, who might be lining up next to Harden in Oklahoma City's starting backcourt if the rookie can beat out incumbent Thabo Sefolsha. "He's smooth. He does a lot of things out there, especially when he's got that jumper going."


Westbrook's dominant play and Harden's big debut got the most attention. But many at the RDV Sportsplex were raving about 19-year-old Serge Ibaka, who started at center for the Thunder .

Ibaka moved impressively and thrived thanks to his athleticism, connecting on 6-of-8 shots and notching a pair of blocks. The No. 24 pick of the 2009 Draft, he played in Spain's top league a year ago and averaged 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in 15.5 minutes of play. That's a healthy chunk of playing time for a player so young to be granted in Europe.

"He's learning a new language, learning new rules, learning new teammates," said assistant Brian Keefe, who is coaching Oklahoma City in the Summer League. "This is invaluable for him to learn how to play with all the guys and gain familiarity with our culture, our organization, how we like things done and how we teach things. I think we'll see him keep progressive because he really likes to work. He's got the commitment."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 9, 2009


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