James Harden is off to a scorching hot start with the Brooklyn Nets, winning the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
There were questions about how James Harden would fit with the two superstars already on the Brooklyn Nets. Through a few weeks, he’s putting most of those questions to bed. Harden was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 25.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 11.3 assists in three wins.
NBA Players of the Week for Week 6.
— NBA (@NBA) February 1, 2021
Harden sat out Brooklyn’s loss to the Washington Wizards due to a thigh contusion, but he was money in the three games that he did play. The Beard is adapting his game to fit his new surroundings and it’s paying off in a big way.
When Harden shares the floor with Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving, he’s comfortable facilitating. However, when Harden is the lone star on the court, he’s going back to his iso-ball tendencies that he became famous for in Houston. It is working like a charm so far.
The trio of Durant-Harden-Irving is playing off of one another and putting up insane points. Meanwhile, when Harden is leading the second unit, he’s an absolute flamethrower.
James Harden's 11-point eruption in the first three minutes of the second quarter against the Hawks. Vintage Harden pic.twitter.com/0avj5g7rC3
— Danny Small (@dwsmall8) January 29, 2021
Of course, all of this good news about Harden and the new-look Brooklyn Nets is focused on the offense. They have been historically dominant since Harden arrived, but the defense still needs some serious work.
The Nets since the Harden trade:
122.6 offensive rating
– Best in league
– Would be the best of all time
119.9 defensive rating
– Worst in league
– Would be the worst of all time pic.twitter.com/B5EbhfuEzH
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 1, 2021
These defensive numbers are gaining a lot of traction on social media, but it’s not something Nets fans should be too worried about. Brooklyn recently added defensive stalwart Iman Shumpert and they have another roster spot to add a rotation player to the mix.
When the playoffs come and the lights are shining bright, it’s safe to assume the Nets will ratchet up the defensive intensity. And even if they don’t turn into a top-notch defense, is anybody going to be able to stop Harden, Durant, and Irving throughout the course of a seven-game series? It doesn’t seem likely.
Brooklyn is back at it this week with games on Tuesday (vs. Los Angeles Clippers), Friday (vs. Toronto Raptors), and Saturday (@ Philadelphia 76ers).