James Harden Is Houston's Undisputed Leading Man

During the Oklahoma City Thunder's rise to prominence, throughout the last several NBA seasons, current Houston Rockets leading man James Harden was seen as the clear third option, when compared to superstar teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. For a shining example of both the depth of OKC's roster and the sheer talent possessed by Mr. Harden, one only has to take a look at the banner that is posted above the front entrance to the Toyota Center, the Rockets downtown Houston home arena.

Above is an iFolloSports.com original picture of the signage, which features photos of the entire Rockets roster, with the words “Younger Faster Fearless” written underneath. A quick glance at the collage is all that is needed to determine how strongly Harden's current team feels about his importance to their ascending organization. When Houston acquired Harden, prior to the start of this season, the franchise's front office deemed the Arizona State alum a “foundational” type of player. Judging by his starring role in the prominently placed promotional tool, as well as his nearly 26 points per game regular season scoring average, Houston clearly feels that Harden is the best thing that has happened to their team in years.

Is it any wonder why Harden turned down a $55 million, supporting role contract from the Thunder, to instead sign an $80 million, “big man on campus” deal with the Rockets?

Though his chances of winning an NBA title have now decreased, at least in the short term, Harden enters the 2013 postseason among the upper echelon of NBA stars, as opposed to following behind the lofty standards set by the previously mentioned dynamic duo of Durant and Westbrook.

Houston is Harden's team and his city. Without question, it appears as if the Rockets what to insure that the man with the famous facial hair feels that this is the case for many years to come.