A LOOK AHEAD

John Granato: Things that will happen at some point in the Rockets-Warriors series

James Harden's Rockets and the Warriors will make you think about several things this series. Rockets.com

At some point in this series…

You will marvel at how pretty Steph Curry’s jumper is.

The refs will have to decide on a flagrant one or two on Draymond Green.

You will hate Kevin Durant’s mouthpiece.

You will see a picture of Clint Capela next to this quote: “We are better than them.”

You will wonder why Draymond Green thought those clothes all went together.

At some point in this series…

Charles Barkley will say the Rockets just aren’t good enough.

You will laugh when James Harden and Draymond Green flop simultaneously.

You will wonder why Steph Curry took that crazy shot but then it goes in and you just shake your head.

You will be jealous of how pretty Oracle Arena looks just before tipoff.

At some point in this series…

You will jump out of your seat and yell at Draymond Green even though he can’t hear you because you’re in your house.

You will wonder why Gerald Green took that crazy shot but then it goes in and you just shake your head.

You will think that Klay Thompson is not really all that good at basketball.

You will think that Klay Thompson is unstoppable.

Draymond Green and P.J. Tucker will get tangled up and tempers will flare.

At some point in this series...

James Harden will make one of the prettiest passes you’ve ever seen.

The refs will have to look at another Draymond Green foul to see if it was a flagrant one or two.

The announcer will mention that this is Chris Paul’s first trip to the Conference Finals.

James Harden will walk around with his hands out in disbelief at a call.

Chris Paul and Kevin Durant will trade big mid-range jumpers.

At some point in this series...

Trevor Ariza will hit a huge 3 that will bring the crowd to its feet.

You will think the Warriors uniforms are cool.

You will throw something at your TV because of Draymond Green.

Charles Barkley will admit that he was wrong and the Rockets are better than he thought.

You will think that these Warriors might be the best basketball team you’ve ever seen.

At some point in this series…

Draymond Green’s leg will have a spastic attack and he’ll kick someone in a bad place.

James Harden will make one of the ugliest passes you’ve ever seen.

Steve Kerr will have a hair out of place.

Warriors fans will scream that James Harden just walked.

You will wonder why Chris Paul thought those clothes all went together.

At some point in this series…

P.J. Tucker will hit a huge 3 that will bring the crowd to its feet.

The refs will have to decide if another Draymond Green foul was a flagrant one or two.

You will hate Steph Curry’s mouthpiece

Draymond Green will skip down the court nodding and smiling and taunting the Toyota Center crowd.

At some point in this series…

You will worry that Clint Capela will get a max offer from another team this offseason

You will hate that there are so many days off between games.

You will hate Draymond Green.

James Harden will have a shot that will decide his big game legacy.

You will be proud of your Rockets.















 

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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