Steve Nash on James Harden's Fit with Nets: 'He's Been an Incredible Player'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden bumps fists with head coach Steve Nash before an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in New York. The Nets won 98-85. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash is a fan of James Harden. 

Nash said Harden's fit has mostly "been great" since the Nets acquired him from the Houston Rockets in a multi-team blockbuster trade. The coach called him "an incredible player" and praised the guard for how he sees the floor and his willingness to sacrifice with a number of other playmakers on the roster:

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Steve Nash's review of James Harden's fit with the Nets so far https://t.co/JuvHn3zLuj

Harden has played eight games for the Rockets, who are 6-2 when he is on the floor.

Even though he's now sharing touches with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Harden's individual production has not been a concern. The eight-time All-Star is averaging 24.3 points, 11.8 assists, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game in Brooklyn while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from deep.

Those assist and three-point percentage marks would both be career highs, which is a testament to the talent around him.

Passing to Durant and Irving makes assists more likely, and opponents can't send double-teams Harden's way when those two are also on the floor. That leads to more open looks from the outside and a nearly unstoppable offense.

However, Brooklyn's defense remains a concern.

Since Harden's first game with the team, the Nets are 27th in the league in defensive rating, per NBA.com. Harden and Irving have never been known for their defensive prowess, and teams are not having much trouble scoring against the new-look Nets.

Nash likes what he sees from his newest All-Star to this point, but Brooklyn needs to tighten up defensively to live up to its championship expectations.