The Nets made a blockbuster trade to acquire James Harden, but with all being said will Harden be the right fit for Brooklyn?
New York has been salivating for quality basketball for over 20 years. The last time the Knicks were truly competitive was the 1998-’99 and 1999-’00 seasons where they reached the finals and conference finals respectively. The Nets haven’t been much better. Over the past 10 seasons, the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets have reached the second round of the playoffs just once.
Now things are starting to change. The Knicks have some of the most promising young talent they have had in a while. Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle are potential cornerstone pieces that could develop this team into a yearly contender.
However, it’s the Nets, not the Knicks, that appear to be risking it all to win now. Already with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Wednesday’s acquisition of James Harden makes this team the clear-cut Eastern Conference favorite. However, the move does present some concerns.
In acquiring Harden, the Nets lost their best defensive asset in Jarrett Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are now left with DeAndre Jordan as their only true center.
Last season we saw the Houston Rockets dominate the regular season playing small ball with Eric Gordon, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. They won 53 games and their only defensive assets were Robert Covington and PJ Tucker, something that came back to haunt them in the playoffs. After barely edging OKC in the first round, Houston couldn’t find an answer defensively for LeBron or Anthony Davis.
NBA teams can get by excelling on one side of the ball. But in order to win a championship, they need to be able to defend. This is an area where the Brooklyn Nets are going to need to find solutions.
As great as he may be, James Harden has simply not won anything. He had three seasons with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in OKC, eight seasons in Houston with a rotating cast of stars that included Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook and yet he hasn’t sniffed postseason success. The point being, just because the Nets threw together a super team doesn’t necessarily mean the trio will mesh well. Harden, Irving, and Durant are all used to taking that big shot and it will certainly be interesting to see how they play together in the coming weeks and years.