Since the beginning of the 2021/22 NBA season, James Harden has been under fire for his struggles. Initially, he could not adapt to the league's new foul rules, but that isn't the only thing affecting Harden's game right now.
The 2018 NBA MVP is struggling to become the right wingman for Kevin Durant, which has led fans to ask for Kyrie Irving to return to the court. Harden is still trying to find his touch and he admitted it's been a process for him.
“Honestly I’m trying to figure all that out right now. I’m trying to figure it out. Trying to figure out when to score, when to be a playmaker when to run offense, when to do a little bit of everything. Just trying to figure it out it’s been a little difficult especially since you know, well whatever, but it’s been a little difficult but I’m just trying to figure it out.”
Following the Brooklyn Nets' 113-107 loss to the Phoenix Suns, when Harden was booed by his own fans, The Beard was heavily criticized by Skip Bayless, who took a jab at him for not helping Kevin Durant, saying the Nets went from a Big 3 to a Big 1.
Kevin Durant goes for 39/9/7 with 4 steals but gets virtually no help from Harden (0-6 from three) as Suns move to 16-3 with a significant win at Brooklyn. Nets have gone from a Big 3 to a Big 1.
Harden is indeed figuring things out. He has faced several challenges this season, and still needs time to recover his best version. Last season, he perfectly meshed with Durant and Irving, becoming the playmaker of the team and exceeding at that job. This year, however, things have changed, especially with Kyrie's absence.
The bright side for the Nets is that they're still 1st in the Eastern Conference. Yet, they have a negative record against teams above .500, which is now the biggest asterisk next to their record. They need to turn things around, find their flow and start play like the championship favorites they are.