The Brooklyn Nets failed in their quest to take home a championship last year, but they weren’t going up against the Milwaukee Bucks with a full deck. The Kevin Durant/James Harden/Kyrie Irving trio served them well in the regular season, but that dynamic was upset in the playoffs.
Durant was forced to do everything for the undermanned Nets, as Harden was playing through a debilitating hamstring injury and Irving missed the last few games of the series due to an ankle injury. With only one of their three superstars as full strength, the Nets couldn’t shut the door.
The Nets’ losing in the playoffs is no fault of Harden, who was playing through an injury that sidelined him for weeks in the regular season. Considering how durable he was, the sudden string of injuries caught everyone off-guard.
But the former MVP is not lacking confidence about 2021-2022. When asked about what he thinks the Nets will be able to do with a healthy lineup this season, he thinks the rest of the league is going to have problems slowing them down.
Harden claimed the squad is going to be “scary,” even dropping the “Scary Hours” quote that has become his trademark since arriving in Brooklyn.
James Harden thinks that the Brooklyn Nets will set the world on fire.
Harden averaged 24.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 10.9 assists per game, showing that he was willing to sacrifice scoring in order to take on a new role as a do-it-all distributor alongside Durant and Irving. Harden already has more triple-doubles than any player in Nets history not named Jason Kidd.
Those numbers very rarely came within the context of a fully loaded squad. As soon as Harden arrived in Brooklyn, Durant missed an extended period of time with an injury, and right as KD started to come back, it was Harden who had his own hamstring woes. It had to be hard for Nets fans to watch both of these guys struggle with health.
Harden believes that if the Nets can avoid getting saddled with such bad injury luck, they will be able to waltz right to the NBA Finals, as he was quoted in a Sports Illustrated interview saying that “nobody can beat us” when everyone is healthy. Say what you will about Harden, but he’s ready to get the job done next year.
We know that the Nets might as well start every game with 75 points on the board, as a team with Durant’s scoring ability, Harden’s skill at impacting the game in a variety of ways on both ends, and Irving’s ability to create for himself and others with the ball in his hands will be the norm for the offense.
What Harden needs to bank on is one or more of his teammates around him having breakout years that take some of the pressure off of the star trio. It could be a veteran like Joe Harris or Blake Griffin, or it could be young players like rookies Cam Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe, but someone has to step up.
If Harden and the Nets manage to get that boost in depth that they need, then they could go about decimating opposing teams by uncorking a barrage of 3-pointers, scoring at will inside, and going just enough on the defensive end to keep the opposition at bay.
We got to see some tantalizing glimpses of the “Scary Hours” lineup Harden has teased over the last few months, and now will be the real test for that deep group can take Brooklyn all the way. A championship is certainly within their reach.