James Harden is the only thing that could slow down the Brooklyn Nets right now. With all of the turmoil that is currently developing in Houston, there has been a lot of talk about moving Harden. Additionally, Harden has made it known his first choice is the Nets. This would pair him up with previous teammate Kevin Durant and other NBA superstar, Kyrie Irving.
The Brooklyn Nets Do Not Need James Harden
Listen, I get it. Everyone wants to make this superteam and try to create an unbeatable team on paper. Of course, the goal is to knock off LeBron James and win an NBA Championship. As it stands, no team in the league has a better chance to do that than the Brooklyn Nets. So, why would you disrupt that to add Harden?
The first issue is fit. Harden, Durant, and Irving are all ball-dominant, isolation style players. The old saying “there is only one basketball” is a bit annoying but it does fit here. First and foremost, Harden would play off-ball and that would require him to play entirely different than he has since he joined the Rockets. Harden has been criticized often for his lack of creativity without the ball, and rightfully so. It is very rare that Harden moves without the ball in his hands and if he joined the Nets, that just would not work.
On a positive note, floor spacing would definitely be great. With Harden, Durant, and Irving on the court, plus someone like Joe Harris, it would be nearly impossible for defenders to help. This opens up Irving for one-on-one drives, Durant for his mid-post isolations, and Harden to play with the ball.
As it stands, the Nets are very likely to finish in the top two in the East. They have throttled the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics. Both wins came without the team looking its best. Steve Nash even mentioned that the team has not fully developed offensively yet, but they are scoring 124 points per game.
If you have watched any of their games yet, you’d see they are excelling in transition and then relying on heroic performances by Irving and Durant in the half-court. Adding Harden would almost completely take the Nets out of transition with him on the court and the seven-seconds or less offense would disappear.
This is where the move makes absolutely no sense for the Nets. On paper, there is no team deeper than the Brooklyn Nets. Last season, they made the playoffs with Irving and other key players missing significant time. Now, they take the same roster, make a few smaller additions and add the second-best player on the planet.
A trade for Harden would most likely include one of, if not both, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. In addition, the Nets would have to include Jarrett Allen and then some role players such as Taurean Prince. That is a lot to give up, especially if you must include picks.
LeVert appears to be the favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year this season. Dinwiddie is a great playmaking guard who brings plenty defensively. Allen is a promising young center that takes a ton of pressure off defensively and is a nice lob threat. Those three players alone make up a ton of the Nets depth.
Brooklyn Nets Need to Ignore the James Harden Buzz
The Nets are in a great position to win a ring. They had a home-run hire with their coach. They have two superstars and a crazy talented, young, deep roster. Most importantly, the product they are putting on the court is quite impressive. The Nets can defend, score, run and dominate. It would be incredibly unwise to change all of that to add a player that does not fit what they want to do at all.
If they stand pat, by the time June rolls around, we will be discussing the battle between James and the Lakers against Durant and the Nets.
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