The Brooklyn Nets look dangerous and their chances of winning the 2021 NBA Championship are looking great. The Nets currently hold a 21-12 record and are second in the Eastern Conference, just behind the Philadelphia 76ers who have a 21-11 record.
When the Nets traded for James Harden there was doubt on whether or not their big three could play together. When Kyrie Irving returned from his personal leave, it was a big question how and if he would fit with Harden and Kevin Durant.
However, the Nets have proven their three stars can all play well together and their offense is incredible. Harden is averaging 25.2 points and 11.6 assists since arriving joining from the Houston Rockets after a three-team trade.
The Brooklyn Nets Look Dangerous With James Harden as the Point Guard
Harden was the focal point of the Houston Rockets for so long, he ranked second for all-time highest usage rate at 40.47% for the 2018-19 season. He even had a 36.26% usage rate while playing with Russell Westbrook who has the highest usage rate of all time with 41.65% for his 2016-17 season.
There was a lot of doubt on how the Nets would get the best out of Irving with Harden in the line-up, but Irving has continued to be one of the best scorers in the NBA. With Harden running point and Irving as shooting guard, both are thriving, playing at a high level.
Harden is one of the best scorers not only in the league but of all time. He led the league in scoring three years in a row, from 2017 to 2020.
His 2018-19 season, where he averaged 36.1 points, is ranked 7th for most points per game in an NBA & ABA regular season. The only people ahead of him are Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
His scoring sometimes makes people forget that Harden is an elite playmaker. One of the biggest reasons the Brooklyn Nets look dangerous is because of this.
He leads the league in assists, averaging 11.2 assists per game currently. The same amount he averaged when he led the league in assists back in the 2016-17 season.
Harden running the offense for the Nets may be the difference between them competing for Championship and winning one. He is a much better point guard than Irving, gets others involved more, and finds the open man better.
Kyrie Irving has Become One of the Best Shooting Guards in the League
Another reason why the Nets look dangerous is Kyrie Irving has moved from point guard to shooting guard and is one of the best 2-guards in the league.
After the Nets’ dominant 134-117 victory over the Golden State Warriors, Irving spoke on him and Harden playing together.
“We established that maybe four days ago now. I just looked at him and I said, ‘you’re the point guard, and I’m the shooting guard,’ and that was as simple as that. So he’s been taking control of the responsibilities and doing an incredible job. And it just makes my job easier, just go out and make plays and play free, so it’s a luxury.”
Irving seems more comfortable at shooting guard. Relieving him from the responsibility of getting others involved and running the offense as much as he would do as the primary ball-handler has allowed him to do what he does best. Score.
Irving is one of the best scorers in the game. His elite ball-handling ability allows him to create space for a mid-range jumper or 3-pointer.
He’s great at getting to the rim and finishing. He can essentially do everything scoring-wise on offense and on the highest level. His scoring is a massive reason why the Brooklyn Nets look dangerous.
The fact that Irving is averaging 27.4 points shooting 51% from the field whilst playing alongside two players that have led the league in scoring, shows how well his new role fits him.
The Nets Other Key Players
It isn’t just Irving, Harden, and Durant that make the Brooklyn Nets look dangerous. They have other players than can give consistent performances.
More importantly, these players can also step up and give big performances, exactly the type of players you need to win a championship.
The most notable player that can do this is of course Joe Harris. His importance to the Nets is clear, he is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league.
The Brooklyn Nets look dangerous, even more dangerous when he is playing well which is often. The 2019 3-point contest winner is leading the league in 3-point percentage, shooting 50.5% from beyond the arc.
He is also averaging 15.1 points per game. Other than the big three he is the most crucial part of the Nets lineup, averaging 31.1 minutes per game.
Another key player is Bruce Brown. Brown is a good perimeter defender and has good off-ball movement. Brown’s best game this season came against the Sacramento Kings where he dropped 29 points shooting 84.6% from the field.
After the game, Nets’ head coach, Steve Nash, said, “For me, it’s all the other stuff; it’s the activity, the defense, the deflections, all those other things.”
Brown’s impact isn’t always shown on the box score like it was against the Kings, but it is definitely felt on the court. He is averaging 19.9 minutes per game, but they have been increasing recently. He is an important part of why the Brooklyn Nets look dangerous.
Another key ‘role-player’ that is an important reason why the Brooklyn Nets look dangerous is Jeff Green. Green is averaging 26.5 minutes a night for the Nets. A capable defender who is currently shooting 42.2% from the 3-point line.
He is more than that though, as he is an important figure in the locker room. As a veteran in the NBA it’s no surprise his voice is important to his teammates.
After their win over the Indiana Pacers on February 10, Nash said, “He’s definitely been a voice of reason I think for us this year in the locker room, so he provides a lot with his experience and the respect he deserves.”
Roberson made the all-defense second team 2016-2017. He may be a big part of the Nets improving their terrible defensive issues.
Kevin Durant is Playing at an MVP Level
Kevin Durant doesn’t need much said about him. He is one of the best players in the world, some would argue he is the best.
When you have two superstars who enjoy the ball in their hands, he is the perfect superstar to complement that type of team.
He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective and is extremely efficient across the field. He is arguably the best scorer in the league, due to how hard he is to guard and the different ways he can score the ball.
He’s had a great season so far averaging 29 points and 7.3 rebounds. His return from a ruptured Achilles, a career-altering injury, has been outstanding.
The Brooklyn Nets look dangerous, even more dangerous than what people thought possible. Their offense is some of the best offense we have ever seen in the NBA.
A large part of this being Harden taking charge at point guard, Irving having more freedom to be himself at shooting guard, and the efficient offensive monster that is Kevin Durant.
The rest of the roster is showing they are capable of stepping up when needed. A lot of worry about the Nets was their incredible depth being sacrificed for Harden.
Their depth is proving to not be a problem as the squad looks great, their defense still needs improvement. But it seems to be improving with time, and with their offense being this great they are in a great position to win the Championship this year.
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