When the announcement came down that James Harden had officially been traded to the Nets it put Brooklyn’s current roster amongst the ranks of the 2012 Miami Heat and 2017 Golden State Warriors. In terms of firepower, the Nets have one of the greatest collections of talent on one roster adding The Beard to an already explosive duo with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Titles Aren’t Won off of Talent Alone
Despite their undeniable talent, James understands that the Nets have a target on their backs and championships are not won off of talent alone. “It’s not a guarantee that me coming to Brooklyn is guaranteeing a title,” James told reporters over Zoom on Friday. “I think, for me, giving myself a chance is very, very important. When I was younger, giving myself a chance, but wanting to get paid and wanting to take care of my family was very, very important to me. Now in this stage of my career, it’s giving myself a chance to do something that I haven’t accomplished yet in the league.”
This isn’t the first time James has played with a talented roster. Some of his past teammates include Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant. However, this is James’ first run with a super team. Playing with a surplus of elite players will mean sharing the basketball a lot more. The Beard is more than up for that challenge.
Scoring Not a Priority for Harden
“We have two elite scorers that the world knows already,” James said to reporters. “My job is to come out here, obviously score the basketball when needed, but my playmaking ability, whether it’s getting our shooters shots, getting our bigs finishes around the rim, and making the entire team better. I think that’s one aspect of my game that will excel in this offense. As long as I’m making my teammates better, it doesn’t matter about the points. I think everybody knows that I can score the ball at a high clip.”
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Harden has won three consecutive scoring titles since 2018 and is coming off a 2020 campaign where he averaged 34.3 points per game. He knows that he’s a top-tier player which is why adding him to this roster makes this team even more lethal. “An elite player, an elite teammate, an elite leader, and just a guy that’s willing to do whatever it takes to rack up as many wins as we can,” is what James told reporters he is looking forward to bringing to this team. “I mean obviously you’ve got Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the team. And then surrounded by those guys you have really good pieces in DeAndre, Jeff, shooters in Joe, Landry. I mean you just look at this entire roster and it’s built for any style of basketball you want.”
Kyrie Irving’s return to the Nets is still pending. When he does rejoin the team, the pressure will be squarely on Brooklyn’s shoulders to deliver the city their first title.