Opinion: James Harden has been a seamless fit with Nets after messy Houston departure

The 2020-21 Basketball season started with James Harden displaying behavior that clouded his on-court greatness.

Following a Houston Rockets overlooked his offseason trade demands, Harden demonstrated as much as training camp late and overweight. Then he broke the league’s safe practices protocols. Among strong performances, Harden then alienated his teammates and coaches during practices and games. When the Brooklyn Nets (23-13) play in the Rockets (11-22) on Wednesday, possibly some,500 fans boo Harden using what will mark his first trip to Houston since he would have been to Brooklyn in mid-The month of the month of january.

Opinion: James Harden has been a seamless fit with Nets after messy Houston departure

“There will not be any tension without any (trash) speaking pointed in the game or about James or my presence or anybody else’s presence,” Nets guard Kyrie Irving mentioned. “We’re visiting Houston to relish the game of basketball and participate in it in an advanced regarding James and every one of individuals other guys because everyone knows it’s a distinctive night, regardless. He’s coming back to that you started everything where he started developing a huge begin his career. Everyone knows exactly what it way of everybody round the outdoors. But internally, we’re just likely to get familiar with the sport that individuals love.”

Harden expressed optimism that “hopefully individuals fans appreciated precisely what I’ve done hanging around and in the court.” Possibly it might be too early for Rockets fans to cheer Harden for guiding the franchise to two Western Conference finals in eight playoff appearances, while collecting three scoring titles plus a regular-season MVP award. It seems perfectly appropriate, however, to praise Harden for a way he’s easily fit into seamlessly while using Nets to date.

He demonstrated up among various amounts of skepticism from individuals across the league as well as in media, including myself. After clashing previously years with Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, could Harden co-exist with Irving and Kevin Durant? We have spent generally in Houston playing isolation basketball, would Harden be considered a more willing passer? After showing immature behavior before his departure in Houston, would Harden exhibit similar behavior if things did not go his strategies by Brooklyn? After shattering scoring records in Houston, could Harden blend his dominant scoring while using his passing and defensive potential?

Don’t look now, but Harden has clarified everyone questions in just about any way since his arrival.

“He literally are capable of doing almost everything there’s to accomplish available, and he’s been a great leader for people,” Nets coach Steve Nash mentioned. “They can control the game. He’s a really smart defender. In my opinion he’s been outstanding to date as keeping his team on course – leading, speaking things out, communicating. The romance for your game and readiness and would like to win are actually fantastic.”

Granted, Harden will probably be judged much more about if they can profit the Nets win an Basketball championship and less about how exactly he navigated the honeymoon stage. Although the Nets wish they’d more than seven games for Durant, Harden and Irving to see together, the overlapping absences to Durant (10 games) and Irving (five) theoretically reduced any potential tension in working the on-court dynamics among three stars. After finishing getting an undesirable defensive rating through eight games with Houston (117), Harden has only proven marginal improvement through 13 games in Brooklyn (114.9).

Still, Harden has consistently thrived through other concerns. When the three stars have performed together, Harden has averaged 20.4 points while shooting 47.1% within the field and 43.19% from three-point range along with 12.6 assists and 7.7 rebounds. When either Durant or Irving have sitting out, Harden has simply elevated his scoring workload.

Inside the seven games that Harden and Irving performed without Durant, Harden has averaged 25.5 points while shooting 48.9% within the field and 46.7% from three-point range along with 8.5 assists and 7. rebounds. Inside the two games Durant and Harden performed without Irving, Harden elevated his workload in scoring (33 points on 48.8% shooting), assists (13) and rebounds (9.) while regressing in outdoors shooting (30%). Inside the three games Durant and Irving both sitting out, Harden averaged 31 points while remaining efficient within the field (52.3%) and from three-point range (40%), plus great assists (9.) and rebounds (7.3). Whenever Durant returns within the left hamstring injuries that will sideline him through no less than the All-Star break, expect Harden to seamlessly reduce his scoring output while growing his playmaking.

“I merely search for techniques to alter the sport, and not scoring the basketball. We’ve many guys that could put the ball inside the basket,” Harden mentioned. “Getting guys shots and achieving guys easy buckets, I’m like it’s my job.”

Regardless of who he’s performed with on the floor, Harden has consistently held themselves accountable for his play.

He’s helped the Nets go 9-4 in so-referred to as clutch games that have been made a decision by five points or fewer inside the final a few minutes. He’s a major aspect in the Nets shooting 55.3% within the field since his arrival. Having a league-leading assist average (11.1), Harden has set a Nets record with seven triple-doubles.

“We have to implement the old saying, ‘Get familiar with it,’ ” Irving mentioned. “If somebody is always that special, someone is always that gifted and they’re capable of singing every area from the sport in an advanced, they’re able to play in an advanced. He’s displaying that. It will make it simpler personally. I understand other guys can echo the sentiment. James continues to be James, and makes our jobs a good deal simpler.”

Then when he helps to make the job harder?

Unlike the best chapter in Houston, Harden has switched the critique inward. Following a Nets lost against Dallas on Saturday in the game without Durant and Irving, Harden consistently faulted themselves for his six turnovers. Inside the Nets’ overtime win over Dallas on Monday, Harden committed zero turnovers while finishing with 30 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds.

“It must be by doing this,” Harden mentioned. “If I’m the reason guard and my teammates and training staff are giving me the job to deal with basketball, I have to perform a fantastic job with my passes and causing them to be precise, and not offering points.”

How Harden fulfills that job description will largely determine the Nets’ title chances. For the moment, though, it’s an excellent bet Harden will no less than do that against a battling Rockets team. Thankfully for your Nets, Harden has transported inside the characteristics that made him a star while addressing the problem marks that brought for an uncomfortable exit in Houston.

“I’m excited to go back to Houston where I basically were built with a fantastic career there,” Harden mentioned. “To acquire that respect and love, I’m excited to get playing before individuals fans.”