Kyrie Irving weighs in on improving chemistry with James Harden
Chemistry was always expected to be the operative word when it came to the prospects of James Harden joining Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the Brooklyn Nets and it not turning into an unmitigated disaster.
Now that the blockbuster trade is well in the rear view mirror and the Nets’ “Big Three” are settling in alongside one another across the past few games, it appears that elusive chemistry is developing nicely.
Harden posted his best numbers in one half in Wednesday’s 132-128 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, which obviously is an encouraging development for a player who recently admitted he’s trying to balance facilitating the offense and creating his own shot in his new surroundings.
The Nets and Hawks are tied at 55 at halftime.— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) January 28, 2021
James Harden's 18 first half points are his most in a first half since joining the Nets (via @ESPNStatsInfo). Harden has said that he is working on balancing looking for his shot and facilitating.
After the game, Irving noted how Harden is making great strides in getting himself acclimated and more comfortable.
“That’s who he is. We just want him to come into this group and not think so much about fitting in, but just be who he is,” Kyrie Irving said of James Harden, per the Associated Press (via ESPN).
Harden was viewed as a wild-card in many ways upon his arrival in Brooklyn, mostly due to his possession-dominant style of play unflatteringly referred to as “hero ball.” While there have been some uneven performances in Harden’s seven games with the Nets, the positives are arguably outweighing the negatives.
While averaging only 24.1 points per game is not up to his usual level of scoring productivity, he is contributing in other ways by averaging 11.9 assists and 7.4 rebounds while shooting at a .464/.389/.868 clip.
The prevailing belief at the time of the trade was that pairing Harden, KD and Irving was a horrible idea. The notion that the three mercurial personalities could coexist on the court without serious issues erupting was legitimately called into question.
Granted, things could go sideways pretty quickly in Brooklyn given this collection of enigmatic superstars, not to mention how they all require the ball in their hands a fair amount of time.
If Harden continues to play that aforementioned balancing act on offense, however, chemistry will not be viewed as a dirty word with the Brooklyn Nets.