It’s an interesting concern.

In reality, Harden– who published a 29- point, 14- help, 13- rebound triple-double in Brooklyn’s win over Sacramento on Monday– has actually ended up being one of the more popular gamers in the league over the last month.

The difference, of course, is Harden didn’t sign up with a 73- win group that had already won a championship without him.

The Webs are not a perfect group, not even the title favorite in most people’s eyes, and it was no certainty Harden would fit. I would then posit, perhaps, that our cumulative fascination with all that might go wrong in Brooklyn– however ill-founded these issues were– suppressed the typical inconvenience we book for deck-stackers. How would all these moody men share one locker room, not to mention one ball? Was defense even a consideration?

One month into the experiment, the defense is still a significant question. Because Harden’s arrival, the Nets have the fourth-worst defensive rating in the league going into Monday. The offense is magical. The “only one ball” crowd has actually been silenced by Harden, who has transitioned so naturally into a facilitator’s role that it makes you wonder how anybody might’ve ever questioned his capability, or willingness, to do so in the first location.

Sure, Harden was most likely the most single-minded seclusion scorer in NBA history with the Firecrackers, but if you believe he wasn’t also one of the best passers on the planet during that time, you weren’t focusing. We’re sure to turn this Harden role shift into among romantic sacrifice, and it holds true, Harden has wanted to swallow some of his scoring pride. However mostly it’s just what makes the most basketball sense.

Durant and Irving are better shooters, naturally suited to, and significantly experienced with, off-ball roles.

Harden has actually taken that concern off Irving without entirely jeopardizing his own scoring aggressiveness.

” I feel he’s been doing a fantastic job of just handling the point guard function,” Irving stated of Harden on Saturday.

It really has felt that easy, but in truth this function clearness to which Irving is alluding, at least from the outdoors, was accomplished a lot earlier than 4 (now six) days back.

Versus the Warriors, Harden dished 16 assists while taking just 11 shots, hitting 6 of them, consisting of 5 of his eight 3-pointers (one of the three misses out on was an end-of-quarter heave).

Individuals like to talk about “chemistry” with newly formed teams.

It’s not practically compromising shots, either. Yes, Harden is trying eight fewer shots per game than he did last season in Houston, and 10 fewer than he took in 2018-19, however it hasn’t come at the expense of his scoring hostility. If he exaggerated the kindness, it would stunt his rhythm and the offense’s general. however it’s his shot selection, and his overall decisiveness that’s proven most important to Brooklyn’s offensive flow.

In short, Harden isn’t controling belongings as very. He’s not dribbling the air out of the ball as his colleagues grow roots seeing him. With Houston, Harden would enter into his bag and remain in there up until he discovered something. In Brooklyn, he’s in and out, cognizant that over-creating in an environment rife with developers includes decreasing returns, cutting his time of possession by nearly one 2nd per touch from last season in Houston (a direct product of him dribbling less), which is a lot more than it sounds like.

Numbers per NBA.com, going into Monday

2020-21(with Internet)

5.3

4.7

2019-20

6.0

5.7

2018-19

6.3

5.9

2017-18

6.3

5.8

Regarding Harden’s enhanced shot choice, we’re speaking generally about his signature step-back 3-pointer. Far with Brooklyn, Harden is taking 4 of those shots per video game, down substantially from the 7.2 step-back Threes he averaged per video game from 2018-20 with the Rockets.

To be fair, Harden made that shot at strong rates in Houston (38 percent from 2018-20), however at comparable volumes, it wouldn’t stand the efficiency test in Brooklyn with Durant and Irving efforts representing the chance expense– especially, again, when you consider all the time Harden tends to spend dribbling before introducing that shot.

2020-21(with Nets)

3.5

3.7

2019-20

5.8

6.7

2018-19

6.7

8.1

All of this is the quantifiable proof of Harden’s dedication to alter, which should not be a surprise. Consider the option: Harden comes into Brooklyn guns blazing while Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who were blistering hot previous to his arrival, hang out on the side? Assisting in was constantly going to be Harden’s smartest path, not to point out the simplest course, to instant acceptance, both on the group and in the public eye.

Unexpectedly, Harden seems like an entirely various player, a real fun player to enjoy as his most visual skill– his death– is now on nighttime screen, a welcome departure from his often paint-drying ownerships in Houston. Which, in my viewpoint, is the big reason why Harden has actually avoided the superteam-joining reaction. Due to the fact that he’s shown humbleness. A willingness to run outside his own terms.

Possibly that never ever must’ve been questioned in the very first place, but it was nevertheless. People genuinely thought that Harden had gotten so utilized to playing one way that he was incapable of changing at this moment in his career. The fact that he had actually made that change so easily speaks with his unbelievable skill, which, absent all the negative talk, the masses are maybe beginning to totally appreciate.

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