He's becoming a full-time point guard. "With James you make a joke he's a 'points guard' because he's going to score some points," D'Antoni said.
Under the new up-tempo offense, D'Antoni has decided to put the ball in Harden's hands more than last season, like a traditional point guard, to get opposing defenses off him in the half court. It should also allow Harden to become more of a playmaker.
Last season, Harden set career highs in usage rate (32.5 percent) and points-per-game average (29).
The Rockets stress this isn't a major change for Harden, given his high usage rate was third in the league last season and he also averaged a career-high 7.5 assists per game.
"He's more or less responsible giving rhythm to the team, that's what a point guard does," D'Antoni said. "He's going to be on the ball and he's going to be distributing the ball and it will take some adjusting. He's got a lot more responsibilities as a point guard. A playcaller, a good basketball mind, he's already telling guys we can do this we can do that."
Harden said he expects shooting guards to continue to guard him and that this new role will help move the offense by spreading the floor.
"Just a lot of trust. My teammates trust in me to make the right decision whether its scoring or whether its making a play," Harden said. "We have a lot of guys who are more than capable to create and knock down shots and that's what is going to open our floor. A lot more guys are going to get open shots left and right."
When asked if he is a point guard now, Harden joked, "No, I'm a basketball player."