Nets Notes: Harden, Claxton, Draft Picks

James Harden‘s time in Houston may have ended badly, but his adjustment to Brooklyn has been nearly perfect, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. The Nets have climbed to second place in the East behind a string of dominant performances from Harden, who posted his seventh triple-double since the trade in Tuesday’s win at San Antonio.

Injuries have prevented Brooklyn from fully unveiling its Big Three, but Medina points out that Harden has taken on a larger workload whenever Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving hasn’t been available. He averages 20.4 points per game when all three stars play together. That number rises to 25.5 PPG with Irving but not Durant, and 33.0 with Durant but not Irving. Harden scored 31.0 PPG in the three games that his fellow stars both sat out.

“He literally can do almost everything there is to do out there, and he’s been a great leader for us,” coach Steve Nash said. “He can control the game. He is a very smart defender. I think he’s been outstanding as far as keeping his team on track — leading, talking things out, communicating. His passion for the game and willingness and want to win have been fantastic.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Wednesday will mark Harden’s first return to Houston since the trade, notes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Even though he forced the Rockets to deal him after they ignored his off-season trade request, Harden says the fans showed him “mad love” and he’s looking forward to playing in front of them again. “It’s always home and I feel like I’m still a part of everything and the struggles and everything they go through,” Harden said. “I’m excited to go back there and see the familiar faces, see my family and play a game.”
  • Since returning from injury last week, Nicolas Claxton has developed into an effective lob partner for Harden, writes Tom Dowd of NBA.com. The second-year center, who missed 32 games with right knee tendinopathy, had a career-high 17 points Tuesday, many of them coming on assists from Harden. “Slowly but surely I’m figuring out the spots that James wants me to be in. It’s only the fourth game,” Claxton said. “I’ve still got a long way to go and just figuring out where I need to be. I’m just running. I’m just playing hard. When you play hard, the game is gonna reward you, and I feel like that’s what happened tonight.”
  • Even though they parted with a ton of future picks to acquire Harden, this year’s draft doesn’t look bad for the Nets, according to a NetsDaily story. In addition to its first-round selection, Brooklyn has second-rounders from the Suns and Hawks and could also receive the Pacers’ second-rounder (45-60 protected).
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18 thoughts on “Nets Notes: Harden, Claxton, Draft Picks

  1. x_burner_X

    If anyone deserves being booed its Harden, forcing the team to trade CP3 and FOUR firsts for an inferior player with a bigger contract in Westbrook and then forcing a way out just a season later, not just forcing but publicly ignoring all safety protocols – if I were a rockets fan I would spit in his face

      • WallyWood

        Not likely killed, but it’s still very rude. And extremely unsanitary.

        Maybe that sort of behavior is acceptable in some parts of the country up north, but we’re more civilized than that around here and don’t spit in people’s faces, no matter how much they deserve it.

          • WallyWood

            Cleveland: the 5th worst city to live in (after Detroit, Flint, St. Louis and Memphis) with one of the highest violent crime and poverty rates in the country. Town motto “at least we’re not Akron”.

        • KnickerbockerAl

          North …. where you get that ?
          The north made you civilized. We taught you everything, just about. Original Texans are either American Indian, Spanish, Mexican, Or Northerners. In that order.

          • WallyWood

            I lived in NY for 3 years and I know what it’s like up there. If you want to see where people are more civilized go to a sporting event in the northeast and another one down in the south and you’ll see what I mean. I was at a Mets game once years ago, and everyone was pelting each other with peanuts in the shell in the bleachers at Shea. Sports fans in that part of the country are the absolute worst.

            • KnickerbockerAl

              I got family in Houston. Know it very well. Have lived in SF and Miami. Know the East coast well traveled it a lot as a young man. There are ugly fans all over. North east is just more intense cause it’s more crowded and more hyped. I’d say Houston goes out of their way to be more respectful.

  2. GeneralZod

    I can’t see the Nets as currently constructed winning the championship. Has there ever been a team that was poor both defensively and on the glass who won a ring?

    • buttholesurfer69

      Claxton might actually be good and I would bet they snag a buyout guy or two

  3. Sillivan

    First round picks
    Rockets have 8 real picks next 7 years?
    3 real Nets picks
    2 own picks

    3 picks have little value
    Pistons protected
    Blazers protected
    Bucks

    4 Nets Swaps are unknown, could be unlikely
    Other swaps are question mark

  4. I wouldn’t have done the Harden trade from the Nets standpoint. But, so far, I like what I see from Harden, aside from his conditioning. He looks more like the complete player he was in college and his earlier years in the NBA, vs the isolation force he had become in Houston. Conditioning aside, that’s a better player, maybe generally, but certainly for a Nets team with KD and KI. Defense may still be an issue, but, with Harden playing this way, the synergy of the 3 offensive stars is unlikely to be an issue, other a positive one. I could see the Nets being a very tough out in the playoffs. Maybe too tough.

  5. Can the Nets just go back to those uniforms full time already! The Black and White is fine, but the throwbacks are awesome. Even pudgy Harden makes them look good!

  6. KnickerbockerAl

    Claxton is a energy big who runs the floor. He can give them 16-20 mins. That goes a long way to helping their D and depth. Still think they will try an sign Drummond if he’s bought out. Harden is playing well. He’s really trying to fit in. He’s never even been to Finals. So I’m sure he’ll be on his best behavior this yr. We’ll see what happens after they don’t win it. Nets still have to learn to make stops. Plenty of time to be ready by playoffs. We’ll see.

  7. Corporal Foxtrot

    I wonder if Riley and the heat regret not pulling the trigger on the Harden deal. He has shown he can fit in with other stars and lead the league in assists, take better care of the ball and not have to drop 30+ every game.

  8. dejota

    I’ve seen this story. Here’s how it goes.

    “Harden is misunderstood”
    “Harden is much better a defense than you think, watch him”
    “It’s different this year”
    “MVP! Can’t wait to see what he does in the playoffs”
    “He was nowhere to be found when it mattered most, he’s not a team player”

    Rinse and repeat, every single season. MVP conversations coming by end of month, utter disappointment by June.

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