James Harden, a 9x All-Star, thrived in Houston. He had full control of the ball in an offense that pushed the pace and worshipped perimeter shooting.
It's no wonder why a guy so offensively gifted, like Harden, was able to find so much success.
So when Harden was traded to Brooklyn last season, there were some questions about doubts about how he'd fit into the team and, more notably, how he'd mesh with head coach Steve Nash.
With only half a season as evidence, it's safe to say that Harden is going to be just fine with his new team. In fact, in a recent interview with The Athletic's Alex Schiffer, the Beard had some really strong things to say about his relationship with Nash, noting the striking similarities they share.
On the court, they process the game quickly. Both have led their team to the top of the Western Conference only to fall short in the playoffs undone by injuries or dynasties. Both possess a feel for which other players’ games fit with theirs and which do not. In Houston, former Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson said Harden coached the team as much as the staff. That’s reminiscent of Dick Davey, Nash’s college coach at Santa Clara, who once said, “I was the head coach. But Steve did as much coaching as I did.”
“We are twins,” Harden said. “We’re just different colors.”
Nash, in his first pro-level head coaching gig, has 18 years of NBA experience as one of the league's top point guards. An 8x All-Star, 7x All-NBA player, and 2x MVP, he was renowned for his natural talent and deep understanding of the game.
Now, he often uses his brain (and natural charisma as a leader) to find new ways to make his team better.
“He sees the game at a different level,” Harden said of Nash. “Like summertime, he calls me, I call him and we’re just talking about how can we be better. He just has that constant communication with me like I know you saw this, but maybe look at this next time. Just things like that to where somebody has a second eye all the time of what’s going on and things that I can do better, and ultimately, that’s going to better our team.”
Last season, the Nets fell short of their goal, losing in the Eastern Conference Semis to the eventual NBA Champs.
But with health, chemistry, and time, on their side again, a whole new set of opportunities awaits them over these next few months.