For the first time in franchise history, the Nets have three players that have been named to the All-Star Game. And while Brooklyn’s James Harden and Kyrie Irving get set to head to Atlanta for the game, it’s less clear if the injured Kevin Durant will travel with them.
Still, while we know Durant won’t play in the game due to his nagging left hamstring injury, we now also know he’ll fill a substantial role regardless.
Kevin Durant Remaining Team Captain
Durant was the Eastern Conference’s leading vote getter for the All-Star Game, which means he was named the East’s team captain. But Durant’s injury — which has now cost him seven straight games — cast doubt upon whether he would retain that role.
Marc Stein of the New York Times cleared the air Saturday night with his report that Durant would in fact remain in his role as team captain. That means the 11-time All-Star and 2014 MVP will be drafting a roster out of the pool of selected All-Stars opposite LeBron James, who was the Western Conference’s leading vote-getter.
The All-Star player draft is scheduled for Thursday night on TNT, followed by the All-Star Game three days later in Atlanta that will feature Team Durant against Team LeBron.
Stein reported no decision has yet been made on whether Durant will travel to Atlanta for the March 7 game.
The Nets' Kevin Durant will act as an All-Star captain even though he is not playing in the game
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 28, 2021
Will Harden Be First Reserve All-Star Picked?
Unlike the other two members of Brooklyn’s Big Three, Harden was not voted in as a starter. Instead, he was named an All-Star reserve for the first time since 2016 after starting in each of the last four All-Star Games.
It begs the question: Will Harden, the league leader in assists with 11.3 per game entering Saturday’s Nets game against the Dallas Mavericks, be the first reserve player selected on Thursday? TNT’s “Inside the NBA” had a discussion about the topic earlier this week.
Shaquille O’Neal was quick to point to Portland’s Damian Lillard as the reserve player whom he would select first, but Dwyane Wade went with Harden.
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Brooklyn’s Big 3 Eyes History
Durant, Harden and Irving have played only a handful of games on the court together, but they’re already beginning to make their case for the most dominant offensive trio in NBA history.
Harden’s 29-point triple-double against the Sacramento Kings on February 23 upped his scoring average to 25.2 points per game. And with that, Brooklyn’s Big Three moved into unprecedented territory. Durant, Harden and Irving are the first trio of teammates in NBA history to ever average at least 25 points per game, according to StatMuse.
The Nets have 3 players average 25+ points this season.
▪️ KD 29.0 PPG
▪️ Kyrie 27.4 PPG
▪️ Harden 25.2 PPG
No team has ever done that before in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/H0khTpItDz
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 24, 2021
The key going forward, of course, will simply be about each of them staying healthy.