He’s not the identical.
To this point this season, James Harden has been removed from the unstoppable pressure he was once when he drives to the ring. Harden, a three-time scoring champ, was all the pieces the Nets wanted and extra when he first got here to the staff final January. He performed workhorse minutes, competed unselfishly and carried the Nets by way of some tough injury-riddled intervals.
After which got here the hamstring damage.
Harden, it seems, remains to be feeling lingering results of rehabbing a hamstring damage that triggered him to overlook all however three of the Nets’ last 24 video games final season and restricted him to him to mainly the ultimate three video games of the Jap Convention semifinals after he reaggravated the damage in Sport 1 of that sequence.
Via 4 video games this season heading into Wednesday evening’s recreation towards Miami, Harden has but to shoot 50% from the sector, try greater than 4 free throws or rating greater than 20 factors in any recreation. Granted, a part of the issue is that the league’s new guidelines make it tougher for gamers like Harden to attract a taking pictures foul. However rule modifications can’t be the one cause he’s averaging 17.3 factors, 4.8 turnovers and taking pictures 36.4% from the sector.
Harden spent the complete offseason rehabbing the damage and wasn’t operating up and down the courtroom along with his teammates or anybody else till the day earlier than coaching camp opened, mentioned Nets coach Steve Nash.
“I believe it’s a bit little bit of each,” Nash mentioned when requested earlier than Wednesday’s recreation whether or not it was the hamstring or rule modifications that have been slowing Harden. “They’ve drawn a brand new line [officiating], so getting accustomed to that’s one a part of it. And the opposite a part of it’s he’s simply performed so little basketball for the final six months that it’s inevitable that there’s going to be a time period that he must play and adapt and form of refine his rhythm and groove and all that. I believe that each are related and it’s essential to simply be affected person with him and permit him time to get again to his greatest.”
Judging from feedback made by Harden, it’s additionally potential that there could also be a psychological side to his battle.
Harden has lengthy been considered one of the crucial sturdy superstars within the recreation. Most of Harden’s earlier accidents have been comparatively minor, although he did endure an unpleasant concussion in 2012 when Metta World Peace elbowed him within the head.
Harden, 32, has been in a position to push his physique to the max and rebound shortly. Now, for the primary time in his profession, he has needed to take care of his physique therapeutic not being on the schedule he would love it to be on.
“I’m simply getting my confidence again,” Harden mentioned after committing eight turnovers within the Nets’ dwelling opener loss to the Charlotte Hornets. “I’m a bit hesitant. Simply going by way of lots of ups and downs final yr after which coming into coaching camp wholesome and ensuring my conditioning is the place it must be
“My confidence will rise as video games go on and I get that burst of pace like I’m usually used to. No worries in any respect.”
Effectively, there could also be a number of worries for Nets followers. With Kyrie Irving not in a position to play till he both will get vaccinated or New York Metropolis modifications the legislation requiring individuals to be vaccinated earlier than coming into indoor buildings such because the Barclays Middle, the Nets should discover a method to make up for the lack of his 26.9 factors per recreation.
Nonetheless, as a lot as individuals want to hurry the method, Nash mentioned rehab is one thing that has its personal timetable.
“Some individuals say it takes you as a lot time as you’re off to get again to the place you have been earlier than,” Nash mentioned earlier this week. That’s a problem he’s dealing with proper now. We simply need to assist him. He is a superb participant even when he’s not at his peak kind. And he’ll get there. We consider in him and that journey is one thing all of us consider in.”