Do the Brooklyn Nets Need James Harden Against the Resurgent Milwaukee Bucks?

Published 06/12/2021, 4:44 PM EDT
Mar 1, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) shoots in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports


The Brooklyn Nets are one of the most stacked teams in the league this season. With the big three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, the Nets have the best odds to win the championship this season.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Facing off against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Nets had an incredible start against the Bucks. Despite missing James Harden, they dominated Giannis & Co. and easily outscored the third seeded Bucks.

Jun 1, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets shooting guard James Harden (13) reacts after a basket against the Boston Celtics during the second quarter of game five of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Especially after their second blowout victory of 125-86, the Nets looked like they were in prime position for a sweep. But their Game 3 performance was certainly a pretty concerning sight for fans as the stacked offense of the Nets failed to score even 100 points and were ousted by the Bucks 86-83.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Given their disappointing display, the biggest question that lies is whether the Nets need James Harden to steamroll past the Bucks?

Why the Brooklyn Nets should bring in James Harden for the upcoming game

After two fantastic shooting nights that showcased the lethal offensive power of the Nets, their recent defeat certainly showed how the injury to Harden affects their team.

While Mike James is a fine backup, he certainly does not have the necessary talent to replace Harden’s output. This put immense pressure on Durant and Irving to score more points and increased the pressure on players like Joe Harris and Bruce Brown to step up.

Given how inexperienced some of the supporting cast is, it is understandable why the Nets struggled in Game 3.

But Harden’s availability will change many things. With the Beard playing point, the possibility to double team the big three will be substantially less and if at all they do deploy double teams, Harden will have at least two players with better looks at the basket resulting in easy buckets.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Another big gap the Nets showed in Harden’s absence was defense. This was apparent in the last game as well. Although Jrue Holiday was silent offensively, the veteran guard showed how easily he could penetrate to the paint and score baskets. Holiday’s last bucket in transition iced the game.

While the 32-year-old might not be considered an elite wing defender, the Beard is an imposing presence on the court. He can certainly put pressure on guards like Jrue Holiday as well. If the Nets want to win the series, Steve Nash should consider bringing in Harden.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Although ‘the Beard‘ did suffer from tightness in his hamstring, given that he has had a six-seven day rest, the Nets should include him in the lineup. Given how Harden can change the game in a limited amount of time, including him for Game 4 is a no-brainer.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Aditya Mohapatra

1029 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT