The Brooklyn Nets shocked the sports world when acquiring James Harden from the Houston Rockets. Harden is an eight time NBA All-Star, six-time all-NBA first team member, and the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player.
He joins fellow MVP honoree, Kevin Durant, and six-time All-Star Kyrie Irving in the borough. Although the talent is undeniable, many fans wondered how Harden and Irving would co-exist considering how much they love to dribble and hold onto the ball. Can three bona fide alphas thrive on one team?
The Nets also traded talented young players, Jarrett Allen and Taureen Prince to Cleveland and Caris LeVert and Rodions Kurocs to Indiana, as well as three first round draft picks (2022, 2024 and 2026) and four first round pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027). Likewise, fans wondered whether the team was top-heavy and lacking in depth and defense. We talked to a few basketball fans about the trade and the future of the Nets.
Who would you want to shoot the last shot-out of KD, Harden, and Irving?
KYLE MCKEE: I would want KD shooting the last shot.
CHRISTOPHER KING: Definitely KD, he’s Mr. Clutch.
STEVEN TSANG: It doesn’t matter who takes the last shot out of the three, just make sure the person is open.
Who will play the Chris Bosh, Ray Allen role on this team?
MCKEE: I don’t think Harden is a third wheel player so to speak, but I do think he’ll have to sacrifice the most out of the three.
KING: James Harden, Iman Shumpert will be the third wheel in terms of defense.
TSANG: Harden will be like Ray Allen, but they should sign someone to supply the defense and rebound like Bosh did for the Heat.
If there is a rocky stretch, do you expect Irving or Harden to become team cancers like they have been for other teams in the past?
MCKEE: I don’t see Harden being a cancer, but who knows with Kyrie.
KING: No cancers here. Harden played with the Houston Rockets and gave them everything he could, but didn’t get a ring out of it. He was frustrated with no help. Now he’s with a team that he wants to be with, and I think he will accept any role to win that ring [currently averaging 12 assists a game]. Kyrie left LeBron in Cleveland because their relationship was toxic, and Kyrie also wanted to prove that he could win on his own. After years of trying on the Celtics, he couldn’t do this. He has gotten the “Lone Ranger” mentality out of his system.
Should the Nets trade for more depth and better defense?
MCKEE: I would trade Kyrie for better role players and defenders.
KING: They do not need more defense [certainly no more offense]. They could use more depth and trade for someone like Zach LaVine or JaVale McGee.
TSANG: Yes, and I am almost certain that they will make a move before the trade deadline.
Do you think KD-Irving-Harden will be in Brooklyn for many years, or will this experiment be short-lived?
MCKEE: This will be a short-lived experiment, two to three years maximum.
KING: I think that if the chemistry is there, and they grow a family-type bond, they will stay together at least until KD retires.
TSANG: I think it will be a two-year experiment.
Do you see any similarities between this trade and the disastrous Paul Pierce-KG Nets trade? Does that worry you?
MCKEE: Not really because these three players are currently in their prime, whereas Pierce and Garnett were clearly past their prime.
KING: I don’t see any similarities to this trade. The only hit the team took this time was losing Jarrett Allen to Cleveland. People have not even given this new Brooklyn team a chance. The Beard, The Slim Reaper and The Ankle Breaker [newborn Black Mamba] are all on one team! MVPs and championship banners are no doubt insight. The Lakers pose the biggest threat to achieving this.
TSANG: No, because these three are not only younger than KG and Pierce, but also much more talented. The only thing that worries me is that the team needs more defensive players.
Is this the best big 3 ever assembled in NBA history? If not, what is?
MCKEE: Nope, the best big three is Magic, Kareem and Worthy.
KING: Not yet, they have to show dedication and great teamwork like San Antonio’s big three [Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili] did. They have that title right now, and several rings to prove it. When it’s all said and done, Harden, Irving and KD can eclipse them if they gel well and win several rings.
TSANG: They are the best offensive big three in NBA history. If they win, they can become the best period.