When the Brooklyn Nets executed a blockbuster trade for superstar James Harden, questions arose how he would mesh with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Many wondered if the ball-dominant trio would be able to develop chemistry with just a single basketball to go around.
Earlier this week, the Nets reportedly took a big step forward in that discussion by breaking down which of three will handle the ball most often.
According to ESPN reporter Malika Andrews, Irving and Harden had a brief conversation during practice last week where they defined their roles in Brooklyn. The breakdown is simple: Harden will handle the point guard duties, while Irving will work off the ball.
“We established that maybe four days ago now,” Irving said on Saturday night. “I just looked at him, and I said, ‘You’re the point guard, and I’m going to play shooting guard.’ That was as simple as that.”
Whatever words the two exchanged manifested into an impressive Nets performance this weekend against the Golden State Warriors. Harden, Irving and Durant scored or assisted on 100 points for Brooklyn in their 134-117 victory in just their seventh game together on the court.
From last night: As the Nets “Big Three” continue to build chemistry, James Harden and Kyrie Irving had a brief conversation at practice this week to clarify their roles. Story: https://t.co/w3P2VG4HGP
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) February 14, 2021
Irving gave confirmation to what NBA fans and reporters have seen since Harden arrived in Brooklyn in January. The former Houston Rockets star has handled the majority of the ball-handling duties and has done so brilliantly. In Harden’s 14 games with the Nets, he’s averaging a career high 11.6 assists per game.
“He’s been taking control of the responsibilities and doing an incredible job,” Irving said, via Andrews. “It just makes my job easier to just go out and play free and just make plays.”
The Nets are 5-2 when all three superstars have been on the court, but still have plenty of room for improvement. Although Brooklyn boasts a historically great offense, the team often struggles to get stops.
Still, Steve Nash’s squad remains confident heading into mid-February. With plenty of time left in the regular season, the Nets will get the opportunity to develop even stronger chemistry before mounting a title run.