James Harden got exactly what he asked for by forcing his way out of Houston and landing with Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. The trade was a complete win for Harden, who went to an immediate championship contender. Harden exploded for 32 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists recording a triple-double in his first game and looking like a different player compared to his recent days with the Rockets. After giving up so much, the Nets will need a championship, or at least a trip to the conference finals for the trade to be worth it in the long run.
For the Nets, time will tell if it was worth trading away so much for one player. On paper, the Nets with Harden, Durant, and Kyrie Irving are a complete Super Team. However, unknowns like how Harden and Irving will work on the court is a huge consideration. Speaking of Irving, he was not on the court for Harden’s debut and seemed to have been taking games off and doing his own thing. Irving has missed seven straight games for the Nets and has no clear return timetable.
While Irving is out, Harden and Durant may be making the Thunder wish they could go back in time and make some different choices. The Nets are on a four-game winning streak, two of those wins with Harden. Harden followed his triple-double debut leading the Nets in scoring with 34 points against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Nets do not seem to have any issues so far in terms of offense in their starting lineup.
While both Harden and Durant have excelled in each game, Steve Nash has only played nine players. This nine-man rotation raises questions as to whether Harden and Durant will be able to keep this up and have plenty of energy left for the playoffs. Even in a shortened season, Nash and the Nets cannot afford to burnout their stars too soon. Clearly, there are plenty of shots to go around for Harden and Durant. Still, two games is too small of a sample to see what the new Nets are capable of.
Lastly, a few final questions:
– Did the Nets bring in Harden as a back-up plan for Irving?
– How will the other two feel about taking a backseat to one?
– Who gets the final shot? And How much of a say does Steve Nash have?
– Does anybody think that the Nets are overrated and will not meet the Championship expectations?
– If or when it comes down to making a choice, who will Durant choose?
Featured Image: Wendell Cruz / USA Today.
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