The Brooklyn Nets recently ushered in a new era with the arrival of former Houston Rockets star James Harden via a four-team trade. He joined his fellow All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as the newest big three of the league.
However, both Harden and Durant already managed to impress in their first two games together, even without Irving at the helm. Their newfound success eventually puts the need for Irving’s services in question moving forward.
In his debut game with the team against the Orlando Magic, James Harden immediately made his presence felt on the floor. The 2018 NBA MVP came out with a triple-double where he generated 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 14 assists through 39 minutes of action.
Kevin Durant followed up with a huge performance of his own, headlined by 42 points, four rebounds, and five assists in 40 minutes. The Nets eventually snagged the 122-115 victory to start Harden’s stint in the right direction.
Two days later, Harden continued his high-scoring outputs after he notched 34 points, six rebounds, and 12 assists against the Milwaukee Bucks. Durant hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 36 seconds left in the game en route for 30 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
The performances of both James Harden and Kevin Durant were enough to gain a 125-123 victory over an Eastern Conference contender like the Bucks, which lifted them to a 9-6 record.
Irving, who is supposed to play third fiddle behind Harden and Durant, remained nowhere to be seen in the team’s last two victories after the blockbuster trade. It is undoubted that the Nets will be even better once Irving rejoins the squad in the coming days.
However, having another ball-dominant player alongside Harden and Durant won’t bode well for the chemistry of the team. All three of them will certainly look for their shots night-in and night-out but a couple of guys will have to take a step back in order to make things work. It remains to be seen if any of the three players are willing to sacrifice their individual numbers in exchange for team success.
After seeing how the duo of Harden and Durant turned out to be, the Nets’ brass has most likely thought that the team can attain success even without Irving. With a talent like him at their disposal, they can opt to trade to get multiple role players in return or get back the draft assets that they lost in the recent blockbuster trade.
The team can still manage to wait for Irving’s return and assess the situation before making another big move. If Irving spoils the budding chemistry between Harden and Durant, then they can proceed to trade the star point guard to get assets in return. If their big three turned out to be a success, then the Nets will certainly be tagged as the new favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference in the postseason.
Either way, the Nets are already finding themselves in a good position, to begin with. They just have to make it work in the locker room, especially with three dynamic personalities on the team. At the end of the day, the team’s last two victories certainly proved that both James Harden and Kevin Durant can thrive on their own even without Irving and their pairing will be sufficient to cause plenty of damage to the league moving forward.