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The Starting 5 | James Harden is far from satisfied

Kelly Scaletta

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NBA Jan 20, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Starting 5: A look at some of the best NBA content around the internet

1. James Harden is the MVP favorite and Houston has the NBA’s best record, but he’s far from satisfied – Alex Kennedy, HoopsHype

James Harden is dominating in the box scores and his Houston Rockets are on top of the NBA standings. He leads the NBA in usage percentage, scoring, player efficiency rating, win shares, box plus-minus, VORP, 3s and a few other things. He is running away with the MVP this year as well, so you might think he’s satisfied. He isn’t, though. He tells Kennedy here that the Rockets still have a lot of work to do before they can achieve their goal of winning the title.

2. The star of Celtics guard Kyrie Irving shined by his father Drederick – Mark Murphy, Boston Herald

There’s still a rim and a backboard in the 12-foot driveway where Kyrie Irving grew up and played against his dad, who was constantly poking at the ball. Playing in that confined space, according to Kyrie, is where he got his handles:

“It did wonders, man,” Irving said. “From a development standpoint, how to be effective in small spaces came out of that, and him kind of pushing me out of bounds on the grass, kind of roughing me up a little bit, which I needed. He was so good one-on-one, I was just taking things he was doing and using them against him as I got older.”

3. Joel Embiid is already an all-star starter. His next goal: Becoming the NBA’s best player – Tim Bontemps, Washington Post

It’s hard to not love everything about Joel Embiid, from his amazing skill set on a 7-2 frame to his cockiness to his quirky sense of humor. He is an NBA sensation. When on the court, he is already becoming one of the league’s best players. But after a series of injuries derailed the start of his career, that “while he’s on the court” part of the equation is a significant qualifier. He tells Bontemps that at one point he “even wanted to quit.” Now his goal is to stay on the court and go from “one of the best” players in the league to “the best.” This is a telling and open interview.

4. Hawks still in pursuit of non-lottery objectives for remainder of season – Glen Willis, Peachtree Hoops

Fans often focus on how many games a team loses in a situation like Atlanta’s, where there is no chance of going anywhere and the future lies in how many lottery balls a team gets. But there is more for such teams to play for, such as the development of players. Willis takes the time here to outline objectives for each of the Hawks’ youngsters to work on over the rest of the season.

5. Commissioner Adam Silver says NBA is ‘conflicted’ on one-and-done rule – Jack Maloney, CBS Sports

There aren’t many rules in sports less popular than the so-called “one-and-done” that requires athletes to be one year removed from high school and 19 years old before they can be drafted into the NBA. College fans hate it. NBA fans hate it. The players hate it. The NBA likes it, though, because it gives it a chance to see the potential draft picks at an elite level for a year, and the colleges like it because of money. Silver talks about the conflict and how the NBA is trying to find a solution.

— Thanks as always to Basketball Intelligence, which has been an invaluable resource in this article. Follow and subscribe, and you’ll be glad you did.

Kelly Scaletta is an assistant editor for Today's Fastbreak and Today's Pigskin. He has also written for Bleacher Report, BBallBreakdown, Vantage Sports, SportsNet, the Cauldron and others. You might not always agree with him, but he does.

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