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James Edward Harden Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for Arizona State, where he was named a consensus All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009. Harden was selected with the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2012, he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Thunder and helped the team reach the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat in five games. Harden was traded to Houston before the 2012–13 NBA season. During his tenure with the Rockets, he became one of the NBA's most prolific scorers and earned recognition as the best shooting guard in the NBA, as well as one of the top overall players in the league. In 2018, Harden led the league in scoring and was named the NBA Most Valuable Player. He is a seven-time NBA All-Star, and has earned All-NBA Team honors six times, including five times to the first team. Harden is a two-time member of the United States national basketball team, winning gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 FIBA World Cup. Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall (1.96 m) in shoes and weighing 220 pounds (100 kg), Harden plays mostly at the shooting guard position. With season averages of over 25 points per game since the 2012–13 season, Harden is considered one of the most versatile and dangerous scorers in the NBA. He possesses a wide array of offensive moves; two of the most prominent among them being his Euro step and his step-back jumper. He has also gained notoriety for his ability to exploit league rules in order to more efficiently draw fouls and get to the free throw line, from which he is a career 85.7% shooter. He has led the NBA in free throw attempts and makes every year since the 2014–15 season. Though primarily a scorer, he is also known for his playmaking ability, orchestrating the Rockets' offense with his elevated assist numbers. During the early portion of the 2016–17 season, Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni played Harden at point guard, which resulted in him averaging over 10 assists per game for the first time in his career. While he has garnered acclaim for his prowess on the offensive end, Harden has built a reputation as a poor defender. Criticism of his defense intensified in early 2014, when a video titled "James Harden: Defensive Juggernaut" featuring eleven minutes worth of clips of Harden conceding field goals, was circulated on the Internet. During the 2014 offseason, he committed to an improvement on defense, which manifested as early as August of that year as a member of the United States men's national basketball team. His improved defense carried over to the following season, and has been cited as a major reason for the Rockets' regular season success. Another negative aspect of his game that is sometimes brought up by pundits are his turnovers. Harden set the NBA record for turnovers during the 2015–16 season and broke it again the following season. Harden was a member of the United States national team that won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, and was also a member of the team that won the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014. Harden was a candidate for the 2016 Olympics, but he withdrew from the team.