A setback for James Harden is concerning, but this is not the time for the Brooklyn Nets to panic.
The Brooklyn Nets, for the better part of this season, have been every bit as good as advertised. Even though they’ve struggled with injuries and absences (due to load management or other circumstances) throughout the course of this season, the Nets have still managed to post a record that is second-best in the Eastern Conference.
In fact, the team’s big three (James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving) have only played in seven games this season. Specifically speaking, Harden has missed nine games since being acquired by Brooklyn, Irving has missed 16 games, and Durant has missed 34 games this season.
Still, the Nets will enter the playoffs as the favorite to come out of the East.
However, perhaps that took a bit of a hit as it was recently reported that Harden, who is rehabbing a hamstring injury, has suffered a setback in his recovery. According to a report, there’s a chance that Harden won’t return to the Nets’ lineup until the first round of the playoffs.
Assuming that this report is accurate, the next time that we see the Nets’ complete big three on the floor again could come in the postseason. And, understandably, there’s likely going to be some that will rush to panic on behalf of the team.
After all, how could a team whose core has only played in seven games together be effective and successful in the playoffs? It’s probably never happened in the history of the league and not many will be expecting the Nets to win a championship considering what they have stacked against them.
But if there’s one thing that we must do is trust the Nets and their success this season. This team clearly entered this season with a plan. They knew that they were going to give Durant maximum load management and, at times, the same for Irving, who has had his own injury issues in the past.
Even though Harden has been quite durable throughout his career, with as successful Brooklyn has been this season, you kind of have to trust them.
Assuming that Harden is expected to be back just before the end of the regular season or even in the first round of the playoffs, the Nets should be fine. Durant has been battling less nagging injuries throughout the last few weeks but is expected to be a full-go when the playoffs begin.
Kyrie hasn’t had many injury issues this season and his missed games have mostly been for personal reasons.
When this team is healthy and playing up to its potential, there aren’t many teams in the league that can effectively match up offensively. The Nets have unprecedented firepower and, generally, talent usually wins out in the postseason.
Harden’s setback is not ideal by any means, but with how they’ve handled this season, and with the success that they’ve had, you have to trust the Nets and their process. This team is betting on health in the playoffs.
This recent development puts it in danger, but the expectation is that this team will be healthy when the playoffs start. If so, the Nets will still be a favorite. Brooklyn has proven they can be successful without being entirely healthy this season. I can’t imagine what this team will look like when they finally are.