In the first four games of the season, the Brooklyn Nets aren't looking like the powerhouse they were touted to be for the entire offseason. While the absence of Kyrie Irving certainly plays a vital role in it, there is another reason. James Harden is struggling and is not looking like himself.
The Beard is someone who can change the momentum of any game on his own. But so far that element has been missing from his game. The change of the rules to prevent flops are also playing a part in it. After all, Harden is averaging the lowest free throw attempts of his career.
On top of that, Harden is still recovering from the hamstring injury he earlier suffered. So it might take him some time to return to his peak. Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash is quite aware of the situation and completely supports the former MVP.
"He's still an excellent player even if he's not at peak form and we still believe in him. And he'll get there in the next few weeks."
Like Nash said, despite not being at his 100%, Harden is still putting up 17.3 points, 7 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game for the team.
Considering he is not taking as many free throws as earlier and the recovery from the injury, his stats are not half bad. The only issue is that fans have become so accustomed to seeing Harden put up monster numbers that his current averages fade in comparison.
Anyway, moving forward, the Nets will certainly need James to be at his best. He has a huge responsibility on his shoulders now. He not only consistently needs to score points but also handles the entire playmaking responsibilities until Kyrie returns.
Which most likely will not happen, at least as things stand right now. Currently, the Nets have a record of 2-2 and hold the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference. The only good sign for the Nets right now is the sensational form of Kevin Durant. He seems rather unaffected by the NBA rule change. But how long can he hold out? Harden needs to return to form sooner rather than later.