One major wish I had for James Harden was for him to fit in. Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are already best buds, so with Harden coming in, he needed to crack the clique. Why I thought he wouldn’t, I’ll never know.
But a good example of how these guys are bonding and/or bonded popped up in the form of some video game smack talk last night on Twitter. It started with Harden talking a little junk. “About to smack @kevindurant35 in madden then @russwest44 in 2k9.” Two different games, two different showdowns. I’m sure the stakes are high when these guys are playing. From what I hear, Westbrook can talk some pretty mean trash.
But evidently it didn’t go so well for Harden. Said Durant: “Jus smacked @jhard13 n madden…35-14…he’s a bum!!! @russwest44 is next.” Ouch. If they were playing the traditional five minute quarters, 35 points is a lot to give up. Who was Harden’s defensive coordinator, Bill Young? (I kid, I kid.)
But Russ didn’t fare too well against the buzzsaw that is Kevin Durant. “Jus beat @russwest44 in madden 21-zilch.” So Durant is 2-0 with wins against both. He’s given up just 14 points in two games and has outscored his opponents 49-14. I’d say he’s doing pretty good. He’s the clear favorite here. But there was a rematch and Westbrook got the best of KD. “Yoooo im soooo heated i lost to @russwest44…he playing @jhard13 now its 7-0, i got next.” Said Westbrook:“I CANT LOSEE IN ANY GAME……..ASK @kevindurant35 and @jhard13 im tooo nice.” Evidently Russ forgot about their first meeting…
What’s becoming clear is that Harden isn’t much of a gamer. Whooped by Durant, down early to Westbrook and even experiencing some football follies. “@jhard13 jus tried to dive in the in zone and fumbled ahahahhahahahaha…hes terrible at every game..” So Harden wanted to take it somewhere else. “@jhard13 tryna get me and @russwest44 to play ufc fighting so he can win hahah..bum.” So Harden is an MMA expert. But he had excuses. “lol im getting cheated in every game i play..@kevindurant35 and @russwest44 are both terrible in 2k9 and madden.”
Blake Griffin wasn’t buying that.“@jHARD13 stop lyin!”
I’d say these guys are getting along. It’s a whimsical anecdote and it’s not all that important, but how often do you hear about Kobe playing video games with teammates? Or LeBron? Or anyone else?
Chemistry is a big part of any sport – you’ve got to like the guy standing next to you. And sometimes that can be complicated when you’ve got a clear cut star (KD) and former stars on a college team (Harden, Jeff Green, Westbrook) now have to pass the spotlight and take a step back. It doesn’t destroy a team but it can create some tension and make it difficult to get along. I remember when I played, I had teammates I didn’t like. I bet some didn’t like me. But that doesn’t appear to be a problem in Oklahoma City.