When you assemble a team with a collection of talented players like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving you are expected to be in the mix to compete for a championship. When you add James Harden and create a three-headed monster, your season is going to be considered a bust if you do not deliver a championship at the end of the year.
This is the hand that the Brooklyn Nets have been dealt now that their trifecta is in full swing. While the expectation is for the Nets to deliver a championship to Brooklyn, Harden insists that the trio is fully prepared to face the pressure head-on because they know that they will be a tough out for any team that they face in the postseason.
James Harden Puts the NBA on Notice
“Of course. We’re more than confident that it’s going to be difficult for a team to beat us four times in a best-of-seven series.” Harden said in a recent interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols via NetsDaily.
Harden has contended for championships in the past with the Rockets. Houston was just one game away from beating Harden’s new teammate Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals and securing a finals berth in 2018. When they lost that series, it signaled the end of the system that Harden, coach Mike D’Antoni, and the Rockets had put in place.
“The situation that I was with in Houston —consistently and every single night having to get 40 points to give ourselves a chance to win for a long extent of years— is draining,” Harden said to Nichols via NetsDaily. “And so, just be able to have the skill set of guys for whom you can be a playmaker and you can get guys involved and not have to worry about scoring every possession is a little bit relieving for me.”
Harden Notes Difference Between Houston and Brooklyn
Harden won the scoring title his last three seasons in Houston as well as the Most Valuable Player award in 2018. He was a 40-point machine during the regular season but the deeper that the Rockets would go into the playoffs, it was obvious that the work that Harden was doing in the regular season was affecting his productivity in the playoffs.
Now he has two teammates who are just as offensively talented as he is. Harden doesn’t have to worry about carrying the load and can preserve himself for when his team needs him the most. Most importantly he can get back to doing what he desires most, having fun playing basketball.
“I was in a role for eight years controlling the ball, dominating the ball. Now, it is a different experience for me,” Harden told Michel A. Scotto of HoopsHype. “But it’s still great. It is still basketball at the end of the day. I am lucky to be able to do more than just one thing on the basketball court. It’s fun.”
James Harden: “I was in a role for 8 years controlling the ball, dominating the ball. Now, it’s a different experience for me, but it’s still great. It’s still basketball at the end of the day. I’m lucky to be able to do more than just one thing on the basketball court. It’s fun"
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) January 26, 2021
The Nets currently sit comfortably at third place in the Eastern Conference and will only continue to improve as the season progresses.