The Nets were already projected to win the Eastern Conference this season with Durant and Irving leading the way. Now that Harden is in the fold, Brooklyn could win the championship since KD, Harden, and Irving are elite scorers and playmakers.
NBA fans will be tuned in to see if Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving can mesh on the court and deliver a title to Brooklyn. The trio has a lot of work to do to establish chemistry with one another, but that journey won’t begin on Saturday against the Orlando Magic.
Kyrie Irving won’t play vs. Orlando
Kyrie Irving has missed the last five games for the Nets due to personal reasons. The All-Star point guard was fined $50,000 for violating the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Irving violated the protocols by attending a private indoor party last weekend for his sister’s 30th birthday.
A one-time champion, Irving will forfeit $816,898 in salary for the two games he missed this week due to his quarantine, bringing his total lost salary to nearly $900,000. Nets head coach Steve Nash said on Friday he has no update on Irving’s status. Malika Andrews of ESPN reports that Irving is not expected to play on Saturday against the Magic due to health and safety protocols.
In seven games this season for the Nets, Irving is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists while shooting 50.4% from the field, 42.6% from beyond the arc, and 100.0% from the free-throw line. He may be a headache to deal with, but there’s no debating how special of a player Irving is.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving looked good together for the Nets before Uncle Drew left the team. Now, everyone in Brooklyn is curious to see how KD and Kyrie will play with James Harden.
James Harden could make his Nets debut vs. the Magic
James Harden has completed his physical with the Nets. However, he couldn’t practice with the team on Friday since every player involved in the four-team trade between the Rockets, Nets, Indiana Pacers, and Cleveland Cavaliers hasn’t completed their physical.
According to Anthony Puccio of The Association, though, the belief is that Harden will be able to make his Nets debut against the Magic, meaning Brooklyn fans will get to see Kevin Durant and Harden take the floor as teammates for the first time.
In eight games with the Rockets this season, Harden averaged 24.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 10.4 assists. He has led the NBA in scoring the past three seasons and is one of the greatest step-back shooters in league history.
James Harden and Kevin Durant were teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the former Sixth Man of the Year played on the 2014 FIBA World Cup Team with Kyrie Irving. The three superstars are close friends off the court, so they should be able to get along just fine in Brooklyn.
Whose points per game average will decrease the most between Harden, Durant, and Irving?
Someone on the Nets will have to sacrifice their game for this Big 3 to work on the Nets. Kevin Durant and James Harden are MVPs, while KD and Kyrie Irving are champions. The odds of Durant having to decrease his usage rate is low since he’s one of the most gifted scorers in NBA history and arguably the second-best player in the world behind LeBron James.
That being said, Nets head coach Steve Nash will have to figure out a way to get Harden and Irving to adjust their game a little bit for Brooklyn to succeed as a team.
It appears the first time we’ll get to see Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving play together as teammates could be on Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.