Prior to this season, James Harden and Jeremy Lin were two players who’d never had the chance to write their own stories. In New York, Lin was pressed into service as both a humble standard-bearer and a basketball messiah, one whose actual abilities were obscured by the phenomenon he created. In Oklahoma City, Harden was a key cog for a Thunder team to build a dream on. (“I keep thinking about those three guys with their arms around each other,”Bill Simmons wrote in the aftermath of the deal that broke up the Harden-Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook trio, sounding like someone weeping into his People magazine over a celebrity divorce.) Both players were prisoners of other people’s fantasies about what they should be.