James Harden and Kyrie Irving decided who is the Brooklyn Nets’ point guard.
When James Harden joined a Brooklyn Nets roster that already had plenty of superstar firepower between Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, many wondered how the offense would work.
Yes, there was an incredible amount of talent on display, but with only one ball to go around and both Kyrie and Harden being ball-dominant players, it was only fair to wonder how there’d be enough touches to go around (especially since KD should arguably get more of those touches than anyone).
However, offense hasn’t been a problem so far for the Nets, and part of the reason is both Harden and Kyrie are embracing their true roles in this league — the technical “shooting guard” as the team’s actual facilitator, and the technical “point guard” as the scoring guard.
According to ESPN’s Malika Andrews, the two agreed that Harden should be Brooklyn’s de facto point guard:
“I just looked at him and said, ‘You’re the point guard, and I’m going to play shooting guard,’” Irving explained. “That’s it.”
James Harden and Kyrie Irving agreed right away
Andrews added that this wasn’t a formal conversation, but rather, a natural discussion that came up at practice where both players were on the same page.
It’s not surprising that a visionary passer like Harden is taking on that playmaking role while Irving embraces his innate scoring prowess, but on a team with three certified superstars, it’s a good sign for the Nets that everyone’s on the same page and that egos aren’t getting in the way.
Harden is currently leading the league with a career-high 11.2 assists per game, and his assist numbers have actually jumped up to 11.6 per game since he joined the Nets. While he’s no longer the 30-points-per-game scorer he was with the Houston Rockets, he doesn’t need to be; as long as he’s creating for others, his 23.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game are more than adequate.
Irving, meanwhile, is the NBA‘s ninth-leading scorer at a career-high 27.6 points per game — not far off from Durant, who’s fifth in the association at 29.0 points per game. Kyrie has been incredibly efficient too, putting up .525/.409/.951 shooting splits that have him on pace to join the 50-40-90 club.
Between all of that and the Nets’ incredible offensive rating of 119.1 since Harden entered the fold, it’s clear that Harden functioning as this team’s point guard is best for everyone involved.