James Harden left the Rockets on messy terms earlier this season, a breakup that helped to at least temporarily obscure how much Harden did for Houston and its NBA team in more than eight years.

Still, Harden’s impact on the Rockets became crystal clear almost immediately after his departure for the Brooklyn Nets; two weeks after the trade, the Harden-less Rockets lost a team-record 20 straight games.

Questions quickly arose about how Houston would be able to replace even a fraction of what Harden provided for them. But recently, the Rockets have gotten a glimmer of hope in that regard — and Harden approves.