James Harden opens up about developing chemistry with Kyrie Irving
James Harden is fitting in well on the Brooklyn Nets despite widespread skepticism that his style of play would not mesh when paired with fellow ball-dominant scorers Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
The former Houston Rockets star has almost seamlessly settled into an effective role alongside his two superstar teammates — when the Nets’ Big Three actually have managed to be on the court at the same time — and he recently opened up about how the Nets are making it work.
Following a triple-double thanks to a 29-point, 14-assist and 13-rebound performance in a 136-125 victory over the Sacramento Kings Monday night, Harden specifically addressed how he and Irving are figuring out how to complement one another.
“At the end of the day, we’re both playmakers, we’re both scorers”— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) February 16, 2021
James Harden addresses the conversation him & Kyrie Irving had on Saturday on being the point guard & shooting guard pic.twitter.com/TsLmCzAiOY
Harden’s comments Monday night addressed a discussion he had with Irving over the weekend, which Irving previously disclosed to the media.
“We established that maybe four days ago now,” Irving said following Saturday’s 134-117 win over the Golden State Warriors, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “I just looked at (Harden), and I said, ‘You’re the point guard, and I’m going to play shooting guard.’ That was as simple as that.”
In 15 games with the Nets since the blockbuster trade that delivered him to Brooklyn, Harden is dishing out an average of 11.4 assists per game, significantly above his career average of 6.4.
Harden admitted last week that the pressure placed upon him to be a prolific scorer in Houston was “draining” as he apologized for how ugly things got with the Rockets. Settling in alongside Irving and Durant, then, must be a refreshing change of course for the one-time NBA MVP.
What’s more, Harden appears to have now left all the Rockets drama in the past and is now focused solely on further refining his role on the Nets.
While there have been some bumps in the road — especially on the defensive side of things for the Nets — Harden is averaging 23.4 points, 11.8 assists and 8.5 rebounds with Brooklyn as he continues to build chemistry with Irving … and ultimately Durant once the currently sidelined superstar returns to the court.