James Harden just not the same player since joining the Nets
Nets guard Bruce Brown suggested Harden has been “too passive” since coming to Brooklyn, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Brown also said he has encouraged Harden to seek his own shot more frequently.
Bruce Brown said he thinks James Harden's been too passive at times during his Nets tenure. Has told Harden to seek his shot more during games.
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) January 26, 2021
“The Beard” has seen a decrease in volume through his first six games with the Nets, albeit a slight one. Harden is averaging 15.0 field goal attempts per game, down from 16.9 attempts during his first eight games with the Houston Rockets.
However, Harden had averaged at least 20 or more field goal attempts in each of his previous three seasons, including 22.3 field goal attempts per game during the 20119-20 campaign. The broader view suggests he is sacrificing quite a bit of offense in an effort to fit in with his new teammates.
The field goal attempts are just one detail. Harden’s usage rate is 25.1 percent with the Nets, a massive decline from a 36.3 usage rate in 2019-20. This was always going to happen, considering the 31-year-old now has to share the floor with both Kevin Durant and another ball-dominant guard in Kyrie Irving. Still, the sharp decline in usage seems to reflect at least some semblance of passivity on Harden’s part.
There is still plenty of time for Brooklyn to figure this experiment out. The season is young, and first-year head coach Steve Nash is only just getting a feel for the new roster. However, Brown is among the Nets players encouraging Harden to play loose and be himself as Brooklyn looks to right the ship.