Brooklyn Nets James Harden Puts the League on Notice With Stern Warning

james harden russell westbrook

Getty James Harden with Russell Westrbook.

After finalizing a blockbuster trade that brought nine-time NBA All-Star James Harden to Brooklyn, the Nets were crowned by most as the favorites to win the 2021 NBA Finals. Already having the dynamic All-Star duo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Harden was the icing on the cake of the championship-caliber roster that Nets general manager Sean Marks had put together. Despite not having the best record in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs most people were still picking the Nets to win it all and secure the franchise’s first-ever NBA title.

Although they looked primed for a deep championship run, one thing that the Nets could not prepare for was unforeseen circumstances. The Milwaukee Bucks deserve all the credit for delivering the franchise their first title since 1971 last season. But in the minds of many fans, particularly those of the Nets, there will always be a big ‘what if’ factor because of the injuries that the Nets suffered in the playoffs.

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James Harden Declares ‘Scary Hours’ for the Rest of the NBA

After discarding the Boston Celtics in five games in the first round the Nets looked like the best team in the playoffs. However, all of that changed after Harden suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Game 1 in their series with the Bucks. Now that ‘The Beard’ has had a full off-season to rehab that injury he insists that the Nets are back to regularly scheduled programming which means ‘scary hours’ for the rest of the league.

“Healthy James Harden, it’s scary, scary hours,” Harden said in response to reporter Ari Alexander who asked what Nets fans can expect this season.

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Injuries Derailed the Nets Season

Harden did eventually return to the Bucks series in Game 5 for Brooklyn. Still it was clear that he was not in any condition to be a contributing factor for the Nets, but rather to be a decoy. His presence was needed to take some of the defensive pressure off of Durant, especially after Kyrie badly sprained his ankle in Game 4, an injury that kept him out for the remainder of the series. While Harden’s decision to suit up for the remainder of the series undoubtedly took guts, he shot just 11-36 from the field in the Nets’ last three games and offensively contributed next to nothing.

Injuries are a part of the madness of sports and the Milwaukee bucks earned the right to be called champions. Still there is no question that the series may have gone differently if the Nets were at full strength.

Harden Believes His First Season With the Nets Was a Success

Despite a disappointing exit in the playoffs Harden still believes that his first season with the Nets was a good one.

“It was pretty good, considering all the adversity we had to deal with, whether it’s me getting traded midseason, [Durant] missing damn near three months of the season, the COVID protocols, [Irving] missing a chunk of the season as well,” Harden said of the Nets 2020 season to Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated.

“And with all that said, we were a step away from the Eastern Conference finals. Now we’ll get a full year to regroup and get this thing going where we want it to.”

With the Nets having a full offseason to rest up and a chance to prepare for the upcoming season in training camp, they are once again looking primed for a deep championship run in the 2022 playoffs.

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