Following weeks of dissent and protest, James Harden has secured his dream move away from Rockets to Nets, in a deal which has been described as one of the monstrous deals in NBA history.
Harden had lost the love for the franchise, which had failed to provide a star player to help him take the Rockets to an NBA championship trophy in his 8 year stay.
He was certainly not going to finish the season with them after publicly criticizing the team as not being good enough for an NBA championship and adding that the situation is not fixable.
The hope, then, is that by joining Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets, he will be able to add to his personal accolades of MVP award and eight time NBA all star with an NBA Championship trophy.
But while Harden and Nets fans can get carried away about a potential season triumph, a caveat should be served that there remains the possibility of things not going as planned.
Dream trio can fuel championship dream
Brooklyn Nets got themselves in the ‘title contenders conversation’ after a blistering start to the season, which saw them winning their first two games.
A blowout victory over Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors was followed by another win against Boston Celtics.
In those wins and especially on Christmas day, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were on fire as the duo combined for 66 points. Their combined points was more than half of Nets’ score against Celtics, prompting Celtic’s head coach Brad Steven to describe them as the deepest team in the NBA.
But things have not gone quite well since, with the team now characterized by defensive frailties and inconsistency. The believe is that Harden’s addition to the squad will put them back in a stronger position like they were at the beginning of the new season.
Harden has led or placed second in the scoring chart in the last six seasons and his combination with Durant and Irving could get mouths drooling and help outweigh their defensive issues.
Kevin Durant on his return from a ruptured Achilles tendon is averaging 29.9 points, Kyrie Irving was scoring 27.1 per game before leaving the team last week and Harden, who appears to be out of shape in this early stage of the season is averaging 24.8.
With such a talented offense, the Brooklyn Nets are guaranteed almost 90 points per game- a frightening statistic for any defensive setup in the NBA.
Brooklyn Nets will be hoping that just as the Los Angeles Lakers were able to win the last championship with the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, they can do same with the trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
Does the dream trio guarantee success?
While the beginning of the season epitomizes what this Brooklyn side can achieve, the latter depicts how vulnerable they can be defensively and without their star players.
After securing two wins in their first two match ups, they are 7-6 into the season having missed the services of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in different stages of the campaign.
Durant who was sidelined due to Covid-19 has returned in time to help his side but Irving is yet to do same after missing his side’s last few games due to ‘personal reasons’.
So while the all-star trio brings optimism and joy, the unpredictability of injuries and Covid-19 related issues should serve as a reality check for the Brooklyn Nets.
It also remains to be seen how the ‘big ego’ trio, will fare on the same court as they attempt to achieve championship glory.
While they are expected to be ruthless on the offense and bag several points for Nets, they will be asked to put in a shift on the defense, and sacrifice for the team and it is such sacrifices that could increase the possibility of egos getting bruised and unhappiness growing quickly.
Possibilities and not certainty
Brooklyn Nets, arguably, have the best offense in the championship, with the acquisition of Harden in addition to Durant and Irving. The trio will have the fire power capable of tearing apart any defense in the league and easily walk their way to glory. But that is just one possibility.
The possibility of injuries and Covid-19 keeping players out as well as egos getting bruised is another side of the probability scale that makes winning the championship a possibility and not a certainty.
ICYMI: Details of Harden’s trade to Brooklyn Nets
- Nets receive: G James Harden from Rockets | 2024 second-round pick from Cavs
- Nets trade: C Jarrett Allen & F Taurean Prince & rights to Aleksandar Vezenkov (57th overall pick in 2017) to Cavs | G Caris LeVert, F Rodions Kurucs, three first-round picks (2022, 2024 and 2026) & four first-round pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027) to Rockets
- Rockets receive: G Caris LeVert, F Rodions Kurucs & three first-round picks (2022, 2024 and 2026) and four first-round pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027) from Nets | G Dante Exum & 2022 first-round pick (via Milwaukee) from Cavs
- Rockets trade: G James Harden to Nets
- Cavs receive: C Jarrett Allen, F Taurean Prince & rights to Aleksandar Vezenkov (57th overall pick in 2017) from Nets
- Cavs trade: G Dante Exum & 2022 first-round pick (via Milwaukee) to Houston | 2024 second-round pick to Brooklyn