The James Harden trade sent shock waves throughout the Western Conference. Oklahoma City's title chances took a hit, the NBA's new luxury-tax stipulations came clearly into focus, and a number of individuals found their season outlook radically changed.
At the top of the list: Jeremy Lin.
Before the deal, Lin appeared to be lost in the Houston Rockets' sea of confusion, a natural leader without a cause. We'd stop short of calling them a playoff contender, but Harden's arrival changed everything. He scored 37 points, then 45, in his first two games. He and Lin developed an instant backcourt rapport, as if they'd been playing together for years. If nothing else, Lin will have some fun this season, back in the spotlight as must-see television.