It’s been more than a month since the Nets made a deal to acquire James Harden from the Rockets. The eight-time All-Star has been a bright spot for Brooklyn. With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving out Tuesday night, the Nets had the biggest halftime comeback in franchise history over the Suns. Harden had 38 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in the victory.
There was a lot of conversation about how Harden would fit Durant and Irving on the list. Irving told reporters the other day that he spoke to Harden about his role on the team.
“I feel like he’s been doing a great job just handling the point guard role. We established it maybe four days ago. I just looked at him and said: ‘You’re the point guard and I’m going to play as a shooter.’ That was as simple as that. “
Within a month of the successful deal, The Crossover staff reflects on the trade and rates the deal.
Michael Pina: B-
James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have played just 186 minutes in seven total games together. In that time they have the best offense in NBA history and are outperforming opponents by 8.4 points per 100 possessions. Pretty good. Harden, meanwhile, leads the league in assists and publishes 50/40/90 divisions. Okay.
My rating is not an A + because Brooklyn’s inability to make playoff stops remains a concern (ranked 27th in defensive rating since Harden’s Nets debut) and, with Durant and Irving clearly productive enough on their own to shore up a championship offense, losing their best rim protector (Jarrett Allen) along with multiple first-round picks / picks in an all-out attempt to win. at the highest level it still feels an unnecessary pinch.
Who is defending Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo or Anthony Davis in a seven-game series, let alone Bam Adebayo? All that said, defense might not matter if neither team has one that can stop Brooklyn’s three-headed offensive monster.
Rohan Nadkarni: INC.
It’s still too early to judge Harden’s swap for Brooklyn. When you go, everything on your team is judged by what happens in the playoffs. A sub-championship finish wouldn’t necessarily be an automatic F, but if this experiment fails, the Nets better have a very good reason, particularly with Kevin Durant looking like their ex-Achilles tear. While Harden deserves credit for fitting into the Nets’ offense, Brooklyn’s defensive woes make the team unique among title contenders. Much can change, including the list itself, between now and when the actual test begins.
Chris Herring: B
So far, the Nets are performing almost exactly the way I thought they would when they made a deal for Harden. But I don’t know if that is good or not.
With a first-place offense and a 27th-place defense since Harden first spoke for Brooklyn, you know what you’ll get when Brooklyn takes the floor. They can score everyone, but they can’t stop anyone. There is no reliable tire protection; By signing Iman Shumpert and André Roberson, they’re betting on guys who were completely out of the league until now.
However, if there is an advantage, it is that the East is there to take it, anyway. The Bucks are no longer a dominant defense. The Sixers, who received praise at the start of the season for their overhauled offense, have hit fewer and fewer 3s as the year progressed. The Celtics have taken a step back on offense with key wing players losing considerable time.
And if the Nets can make it through the East, it is noteworthy that they are 6-0 against clubs currently in playoff position in the West.
We are used to seeing that champion teams possess some degree of balance, at least sniffing the top 10 on both sides of the ball. However, Brooklyn is not connected in that way. The Nets are built to win shootouts night after night. And with that much scoring hit, they might have what it takes to be the exception rather than the rule.
Ben Pickman: B +
Harden has fitted in very well with the Nets, showcasing his stellar ability to make plays as both top scorer and passer. In his first 15 games with Brooklyn, Harden led the Nets in passes made per game (70.1), throwing more than 20 passes per game than Kyrie Irving. Harden’s 11.8 assists per game with the Nets would be a career-high if he held on for the rest of the year, and his 8.4 rebounds per game would also be the best of his career.
Harden’s scoring production has dropped to 24.3 points per game with the Nets, but as demonstrated by his 38-point performance Tuesday against the Suns, he is still more than capable of illuminating the opposing defense from around the rim, behind the basket. bow and on the side. free throw line. Still, it’s difficult for me to give the deal more than a B + at this point, as the highly successful trade will be judged by the Nets’ postseason performance.
Unfair or not, this team has a relatively short title window and considering what the Nets gave up to acquire Harden, success in the postseason is imperative for the franchise. Sure, everything is going well now, but how the team prepares towards the end of the regular season and into the postseason is what everyone is eager to see.
Elizabeth Swinton: Grade: A-
Although the Big Three have played only seven games together, each player so far has shown that they are willing to sacrifice for overall success. This was a great question after the Nets traded for James Harden, but The Beard in particular is thriving for Brooklyn as the team’s main facilitator, highlighted by 11.3 assists per game and five triple-doubles in 16 games played. Although he began his tenure with a focus on creating play over scoring, Harden has improved during his first month in Brooklyn to be aggressive on the offensive side while keeping his teammates involved and watching the ball, not to mention just being has lost a game while Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have dated sporadically due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols.
In terms of who the Nets surrendered to in the trade, Brooklyn has missed Jarrett Allen the most, which was to be expected. The Nets’ defensive inconsistency remains their weak point and teams often have fun in the paint and on the boards. Still, Brooklyn has shown in recent games that it can take drastic measures defensively and succeed in its small ball lineup with more consistent contributions from the bench.
The Nets have had flashes of looking unbeatable thanks to offense, but they have also been vulnerable with a sluggish defense. Many of the team’s struggles come down to effort. So far, Harden’s consistent presence and leadership have been worth the trade-off for a Nets team with improved chemistry and championship aspirations.
Michael Shapiro: A
It’s hard to give Harden’s deal more than an A so far. The three-time scoring champion has been as good as advertised in Brooklyn, transitioning smoothly to pseudo-point guard status as the Nets find the optimal use for their three-headed monster.
Brooklyn is scoring 121.4 points per 100 possessions with Harden on the court. The Harden-Durant combo has an offensive rating of over 10.4. Harden led Brooklyn to a comeback win over the Suns last night with Durant and Irving offside. Rack up double-digit assists when your teammates are on the court. Harden’s offensive versatility is the true mark of his brilliance, capable of fluctuating between the secondary option and the elite scoring dynamo.
The “only one ball” concerns regarding the Brooklyn Big Three were wrong a month ago. They are downright ridiculous now. Harden has taken the Nets’ offense to a historic level, setting the stage for a possible run to the Finals.
Robin Lundberg: A
When you acquire a true superstar and one of the best players in the game, you win a trade. Period. As for James Harden’s fit with the Nets so far, I think some things may have been underestimated when the deal was made. On the one hand, Harden brings something neither Kevin Durant nor Kyrie Irving do (at least to the same degree): creating elite games. When it comes to seeing the court and grooming others, he’s at the top of the league with players like LeBron James and Chris Paul. And he has legitimately relied on that aspect of his game at BK.
Also, it is reliable. Harden has never wasted much time due to injury and is capable of consistently handling a large load of minutes. Therefore, their presence is insurance against unexpected circumstances. And then there’s the fact that despite the concerns about defense and depth, if the Big Three are out there, I expect the Nets to play for the championship. So yeah, the deal with Harden was good.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.