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James Harden hints at mentality shift ahead of NBA Playoffs

Throughout his career, particularly with the Houston Rockets, James Harden became known for his gaudy statlines and outstanding scoring ability. Now with the Brooklyn Nets, poised for arguably his best shot at a championship, things seem to be changing a bit. Harden averaged 35.3 points per game over his previous two seasons with Houston. That… Read More

The post James Harden hints at mentality shift ahead of NBA Playoffs appeared first on Larry Brown Sports.

James Harden

Throughout his career, particularly with the Houston Rockets, James Harden became known for his gaudy statlines and outstanding scoring ability. Now with the Brooklyn Nets, poised for arguably his best shot at a championship, things seem to be changing a bit.

Harden averaged 35.3 points per game over his previous two seasons with Houston. That number dipped to a comparatively modest 24.6 points per game in 2020-21, the lowest mark of his career since his trade to the Rockets. However, he saw a significant spike in his assist and rebounding numbers, with his 10.8 assists and 7.9 rebounds falling just short of his previous bests.

Part of that is down to playing with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who demand more usage than any of Harden’s Houston teammates ever did. However, Harden suggested on Wednesday that this was a conscious choice, even moreso since his recent hamstring injury.

Harden was the guy in Houston, but he can play creator with Irving and Durant around him knowing that both of them are elite scorers in their own right. The Nets were only going to be successful if their big three stars made some sacrifices, and Harden appears to have embraced that. In fact, the whole team appears to be doing it to some degree.

The Nets enter the playoffs as the second seed in the East. Harden has had limited time to play with both Irving and Durant, so it’s not out of the question his scoring numbers dip a little bit more. He’s been making up for it in other categories, and it certainly seems to be benefitting the team. Defense remains an area of concern, but it’s going to be very hard to slow the Nets down on the offensive end with Harden playing facilitator like this.

The post James Harden hints at mentality shift ahead of NBA Playoffs appeared first on Larry Brown Sports.

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