The Brooklyn Nets haven't had the start to the season that they were hoping for. Initially, there was a lot of concern, especially given Kyrie Irving's removal from the team after his decision not to get vaccinated. But with the star duo of Kevin Durant and James Harden, their championship expectations remained alive.
But so far, the Nets haven't lived up to those expectations. Most notably, James Harden has struggled offensively and has not been able to put up the numbers that we are accustomed to seeing from the 2018 MVP.
Some believe that the NBA's recent rule changes with regard to drawing fouls have had a major impact on Harden's game. James Harden was incredibly adept at drawing fouls and making his way to the free-throw line. But now, that weapon has been taken out of his arsenal.
Harden had a poor night against the Charlotte Hornets, making 6 of his 16 shots, and only 2 of his 8 three-pointers. He was only able to make it to the foul line once in the game and even turned the ball over 8 times during the game. It was far from a signature performance from Harden.
Harden has come out and suggested that the rule change feels a little personal and that he is set up to fail even before a game starts.
In fact, he is averaging 3 free throws a game so far, which is on track to be worse than his rookie year, where he attempted 3.2 free throws in a game. And Nets' head coach Steve Nash believes that Harden has been unfairly set up as the poster child for the NBA's recent foul rule change.
Surprisingly, Kevin Durant doesn't agree with their statements. After the Nets' loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Kevin Durant came out and said that he doesn't believe the change in NBA's foul rules has an impact on any of the Nets' players.
"I don't think rule changes are affecting anyone's game, to be honest."
Clearly, Durant has high expectations from his teammates, especially Harden. And he won't allow him to become complacent and get into his own head. Going forward, the Nets need to find their rhythm, especially if they want to win the NBA championship going forward.
There is a hope that Kyrie Irving eventually gets vaccinated and makes his return to the team. But there is no doubt that Harden and Durant are one of, if not the best duo in the NBA, and can help the Nets win the title. But Harden will have to find his form again for that to happen.
Below are the highlights of Harden's game (0:48 mark).