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What was James Harden thinking?

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James Harden

 

 

James Harden

 

Photo: Getty Images

 

 

The start of the season hasn’t been the NBA 2K simulation that most thought it would be for the Brooklyn Nets, but James Harden had himself a moment over the weekend that sums up the Nets’ slow start this year.

With all his dribbling in place and going nowhere fast, Harden has the ball knocked away, runs after it, then just begins a slow trot as he gets closer. It looked like he was allowing the ball to roll out of bounds, but it was still a long way from the sideline as he stared down at it. Call it a brain lapse, fart, or whatever you want; Harden had himself an NBA 2K moment on this play.

Then forget about even feigning an attempt at getting back into the play defensively. Harden walks over to the baseline all nonchalantly. That’s the effort of the week right there, folks. The Nets did beat the Pistons 96-90 to improve to 6-3 this season. But it was the Detroit Pistons, so, of course, the Nets won.

Perhaps the only thing more alarming than the play by Harden is his production through nine games this year. We’ve been able to pencil in Harden for at least 24-25 points per game since the 2012-13 season, which was his first in Houston. He’s averaging 17.7 so far this season, although most people expect this to increase as the year rolls along. I do as well, but Brooklyn should begin to worry if he goes much longer, averaging under 20 ppg.

With Kyrie Irving on sabbatical and no end in sight, the Nets need Harden to score and distribute for this team. If Irving doesn’t play this year, Brooklyn needs Harden to be closer to 24ppg or higher, not 17. Against the Pistons, Harden had a triple-double but only 13 points in 36 minutes. That won’t get the job done against the top teams in the east, especially in the postseason. This might be a blown experiment in Brooklyn if the Nets can’t make the NBA Finals this year.

Either way, let’s hope Harden doesn’t have any more of these glitch in the Matrix moments on the court. I’m sure he doesn’t have these lapses when he’s making it rain in clubs around the nation because it’s surely all business all the time in his homes away from home.

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