Nets Give a Warm Welcome to Harden

Taken by Adam Hunger on January 20, 2021, some rights reserved,

James Harden is a constant topic of many basketball-related conversations because of his controversial playing style that is offense driven and draws fouls. He is currently receiving a lot of media attention because of his trade to the Brooklyn Nets from the Houston Rockets. Harden joined the Rockets in 2012 and his time with them was valued and full of learning and triumph, but was also accompanied by many painful, gut-wrenching losses for Rockets fans. Harden is reuniting with Kevin Durant, who he played with on the OKC Thunder, and joining Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn for a season that is bound to go down in history.

The Rockets provided an environment for Harden to lead and be in control, which is how he tends to thrive. He started as a sixth-man and then ended up giving the Rockets 18,000 points and took the team to eight consecutive playoff opportunities that included their appearances in the Western Conference Finals in 2015 and 2018 during his time in Houston (no, we don’t need to mention the NBA playoff record they broke by bricking 27 three-pointers in a row). He has gained the years of experience that has allowed him to become the prolific, seasoned player that he is, while still maintaining his youthful playing style, with his eight-time All-Star appearances and MVP award that he won in the 2017-2018 season. 

While Harden was definitely the star player on the Rockets, he also received help from different players through the years that helped him to bear the weight, like CP3 and Russell Westbrook. After Chris Paul and Harden had a falling out at the end of the 2018-2019 season, Paul requested a trade request and Harden was reunited with Russell Westbrook. Their dynamic was nostalgic and exciting since they had already played together before on the OKC Thunder, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Rockets afloat. Russell Westbrook was not content with his contribution to the team and found a better-suiting position for himself in Washington with the Wizards.

Going into the 2020-2021 season, Harden was still in Houston, but he was dissatisfied with the static state that his team found itself in. He was craving more and decided to act out of immaturity and broke the NBA’s protocol for COVID, which cost him a couple of absent games. He and the team ended up deciding that it was a toxic environment for all parties involved and that he had overstayed his welcome. It was time for him to leave a team that was built around his skills and scoring, and to move onto a more respected, vibrant team that would challenge him and promote his growth. His top two choices were Philly and Brooklyn, but Brooklyn management ended up biting the bait and set up a four-team megadeal, just to satisfy the magnetism between Harden and the Nets.

James Harden is now in Brooklyn playing alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and they could not be happier. Granted, they are a fresh team that shows a lot of room for growth, but they are optimistic and motivated about their future together. Their unstoppable offense is proving to compensate for their developing defense, but they will need to focus on building up their defense.

Things are definitely looking good for Harden and the Big 3; even Stephen A. Smith is without a shadow of a doubt that the Nets will make it to the playoffs. They’re already third in the East This season will be one to remember for Harden and for all of his avid followers.