Personally, I love this. Granted I'm a big James Harden guy that dates back to our time at ASU together, but I am all for anyone and everyone who wants to talk shit. I'm also not really sure James Harden is lying here. When healthy, the Nets were pretty damn unstoppable. The only Nets lineup that didn't really blow teams away was when it was just Kyrie by himself. Shit, when they were all healthy in the playoffs together in Round 1, they scored a combined 104 of their 141 points which was an NBA playoff record. Sure it came against a depleted Celtics defense, but whatever, that's still insane. In the 8 games these three played together during the year, they had a 119.6 Ortg. In 6 games in the postseason, that ballooned to a 135.4 Ortg. Whatever speculation there may have been about only having 1 ball never seemed to actually happen. Everyone filled their role, the ball movement was awesome and as a result the Nets ran through teams.
So when Harden says that when the Nets are at full strength and nobody can beat them, he's not really lying. When he then said a healthy James Harden means scary hours for the league...that's not exactly a lie either. People forget that once he got out of Houston, Harden was playing at an MVP level
A pretty decent 24.9/8.5/10.9/1.3 on 47/36% splits with 2.7 3PM. Really what we learned was that the Nets are better served with Harden running the point and then playing Kyrie more off ball. We had no idea if Kyrie would be cool with that role shift, but things seemed to work out pretty well in the limited sample we got.
The beauty of what Harden is doing is now we get to see them back it up. They get a pass last year due to health, but the expectations are going to be through the roof next season, even more so than what we just experienced last year. This is the ultimate Old Takes Exposed way of approaching next season. What, you thought they would be humble? James Harden? Where have you been exactly. But this is why I love Harden. He talks his shit, and then has the caliber of game to back it up himself. Sure it's easy to talk about how dominant you'll be when your running mates are Kevin fucking Durant and Kyrie Irving, but to me this is Harden leaning into being the villain. That's exactly what I want the Nets to do. It started based on how they were initially put together, then it elevated even more once Harden joined forces. Now that we enter a full season with the Nets having full health, people are going to be so mad as they run through the league. It happened with the LeBron Heat, it happened with the Warriors, and it's happening with the Nets.
Barring another injury plagued season, anything less than a Finals appearance at a minimum would be a massive underachievement. That's not me talking, that's what James Harden has made clear.