So in case you haven’t heard the news, James Harden is now a member of the Brooklyn Nets.
And holy hell, does he ever look different, and I’m not just talking about him losing 15 pounds in 3 days. Look at this stat line in his first game as a Net!
A triple double. 14 assists! FOUR STEALS. The Beard is now playing defense? Completely different than his first games in Houston this year. And I wonder, what might have happened to cause Harden’s complete reversal of attitude, motivation, and even physical build?
Listen to that again, because we just chopped up this ENTIRE subject on the latest episode of This League.
"When you play with really really good players, it's pretty easy."
After 8 years, eight LONG years, in Houston I believe James Harden had a revelation. He is NOT the Man any more. Or in the words of Kendrick “Usually Wrong” Perkins, he is not Batman.
Realizing you can’t win as a team leader lifts an enormous weight off your shoulders, and I think this is what is going on with Harden right now. It’s what he tried to say in his last presser in Houston, and what he reiterated in his intro press conference as a Net.
I am not Batman. I thought I was Batman for a long time, but I’m not any more and probably never was. I got paid like Batman, but I am not going to be able to win a championship as a team leader, no matter what Houston surrounds me with. Dwight Howard. Chris Paul. Russ Westbrook. John Wall. I’m not good enough to do this alone, no matter who they put around me.
How do we know he came to this realization? Because the list of teams he wanted to be traded to, ALL of them require him to be Robin instead of Batman. Philadelphia. Milwaukee. Brooklyn. And for the first time since he was 6th man off the OKC bench? He’s ready to defer. He’s secured the bag for his family, and now he’s hunting a legacy.
James Harden wants a chip, and he’s willing to become Robin to KD’s Batman in order to do it. He’s going to pass. Playmake. Allow another to star in order to try and win.
And that’s no diss on Harden. Almost all the Superstars in the NBA, from Dame to Booker, are Robins (at best). Truth be told, there are only THREE Batmans in the entire NBA: Bron, KD, and Kawhi.
To me that’s one of the most stunning statistics in recent memory. The last decade of the NBA has been DOMINATED by 3 players to the point that 16 of the last 20 teams to make the NBA finals had either Bron, KD, or Kawhi on it.
We spend a lot of this episode talking about Batmans and Robins in the NBA. Give it a listen. New episode drops is out now.