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#pounditSaturday, May 8, 2021

James Harden acting as Kyrie Irving whisperer for Nets?

James Harden

Despite some outside doubts about he might fit in with the Brooklyn Nets, James Harden appears to be doing just swimmingly on that front.

Mike Mazzeo of Forbes reported on Wednesday that Harden has been very humble ever since his arrival in Brooklyn, displaying a willingness to put the team first in their pursuit of an NBA title. Mazzeo adds that the former MVP has gotten along very well with Kyrie Irving, describing Harden’s presence as “a calming influence” on the mercurial Irving.

Harden has indeed taken on a more facilitatory role for the Nets alongside Irving and Kevin Durant. He is averaging 11.4 assists per game in Brooklyn (which would be a career-high) and is taking just 16.6 shots per game (his lowest number since the 2013-14 season). Harden has been happy to defer to Irving and Durant when they share the floor together and to carry bench-heavy units when his star teammates sub out of the game.

As for Irving, he is still finding ways to cause problems on his own. But it sounds like Harden is one of the few teammates who has actually been able to get through to the infamously difficult guard.

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