At this point, there is no turning back for the LA Clippers. The James Harden era is here to stay, whether we like it or not. The rest of the team and the coaching staff will continue to do everything they can to get the most out of Harden, but he is not going anywhere.
Many Clippers fans are still understandably upset that Harden was thrown into the mix when LA already had something very solid going with Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. But there is one particular area Harden has excelled at with the Clippers so far that could be a good sign for him and his fit going forward.
Usually known as a driving and three-point shooting threat, James Harden does not attempt a lot of shots in the mid-range. But in his time in LA so far, he has made 72% of his mid-range shot attempts, going 8-for-11.
James Harden has been very good from mid-range for the Clippers
This is an extremely positive development for a number of reasons. As Clippers reporter Justin Russo points out, Harden has shyed away from even taking shots in the mid-range in seasons past. Three years ago when he spent the 2020-21 season with Houston and Brooklyn, Harden took just 19 mid-range shots all year.
The fact that Harden shoots close to league average for mid-range at just under 40% means he should be taking more of these kinds of shots where applicable going forward. Him already having taken that many this early into the season bodes well for the rest of the year.
Lastly, we know that some of the best players in the NBA shoot the mid-range because it is an art they have perfected. Players like Kevin Durant make it look easy, and that is because mid-range becomes as simple as a layup when you work on it.
Harden refining his skill as a mid-range shooter has the potential to make a big difference for the Clippers and their championship hopes.