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Even when you’re not the most qualified candidate for a job, sometimes all it takes is a great cover letter.Just look at how James Harden talked his way into a higher NBA draft pick in 2009. This anecdote comes from Jordan Conn at Grantland:
Though Harden was slotted near the top of most draft boards, [Sam] Presti’s decision to pick him over Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, and Stephen Curry was largely based on fit. Shortly before the draft, Harden sent Presti an e-mail explaining why he thought he belonged in Oklahoma City. “He made it clear that he understood the ethos of the organisation,” Presti says. “He understood the dynamic of our team, that it wasn’t going to be a typical situation for someone drafted that high. Instead of being worried about it, he was motivated by it.
Particularly after Harden’s tournament no-show, he was expected to slip below no. 3. With two high-volume shooters already in place, the Thunder were expected by many (including ESPN’s Chad Ford) to take Rubio. When I talked to Presti, he didn’t address the Harden-Rubio comparison specifically, but he was clear that his attraction to Harden went beyond his skill set. “He wanted to be a part of building and sustaining a winning tradition,” Presti said.
Harden told Oklahoma City’s general manager he understood the team and was willing to take on a supporting role.
The decision paid off, with Harden earning this year’s Sixth Man Of The Year award and helping his team make it to the Western Conference Finals.
Don’t miss: How The Thunder Became The Next NBA Dynasty >
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