Net stars Kyrie Irving and James Harden had a brief chat in practice recently to find out who would be the point guard for the team.
“I feel like he managed the point guard role well,” said Irving after Brooklyn’s 134-117 win over the Warriors on Saturday night. “We noticed that maybe four days ago. I just looked at him and said, “You are the point guard and I’ll play shooting guard.” It was so easy. He took control of responsibility and did an incredible job. It just makes my job easier, just go out and play freely and just make games. It’s a luxury. I just want to continue. “
Harden, a two-time assists leader, is well on his way to top the league for the third time in this category as he leads the league with 11.0 assists per game.
“It’s easy to outplay someone who is ready to add to your game and willing to sacrifice, and it’s easier for me to do that,” said Irving. “I think I was waiting for this opportunity to show that I am playing with other great players, not just a (team) USA or All-Star game, but also able to play in a high-level one Group to pass, not just with points or passes I just keep doing the little things and the details to win. That’s all I focus on. “
This season, Irving was as deadly a goalscorer as ever, averaging career highs for field goal percentage (0.522), free throw percentage (0.950) and points per game (27.9).
Harden is ninth in the NBA rankings (30.58) Kevin Durant Rank 12 (30.16) and Irving Rank 16 (29.29). However, the three-time NBA top scorer knew his rating in the Nets was going down and would be the main playmaker, as he discovered in late January.
James Harden: “I was in a role controlling the ball and dominating the ball for 8 years. Now it’s a different experience for me, but it’s still great. At the end of the day, it’s still basketball. I’m lucky to have more than one thing to do on the basketball court. It is fun”
– Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) January 26, 2021
Harden repeated a similar sentiment after Brooklyn’s victory over Golden State.
“I came to this team because I knew they had two special goalscorers for this team,” said Harden. “Of course I’ll score if I have to, but as long as I get everyone involved and Kyrie gets the shots he wants, KD gets the shots he wants, it’s pretty efficient. So it seems to work well. “
It’s not the first time for Irving that he has passed the ball and shared his duties. He did this along with LeBron James during their time with the Cavaliers. In Cleveland, Irving won a championship alongside James, and he believes he can win another as part of Brooklyn’s talented trio.
“I think it just goes back to what I’ve been saying over the past few weeks. It’s just not a day for granted,” said Irving. “We don’t want to take our size for granted when it comes to where it is now, and then we want to hold each other accountable in order to reach another level in the long run.”
Brooklyn is now the third seed in the east, just 2.5 games behind the leader.
“I’m just trying to build camaraderie and just have fun dominating,” said Irving after Brooklyn’s trio had just played their sixth game together.
On Tuesday, February 9th, Irving warned the rest of the league what would happen if the nets turned the corner together.
“I’m telling you, the League will be notified when that happens,” proclaimed Irving.
You can follow Michael Scotto on Twitter: @MikeAScotto