It is no secret that the Brooklyn Nets have been Championship favorites since they formed “The Big 3”. Add to that the amount of talent they brought in via free agency and trades, and they are almost destined to win it all, but a giant issue in their plan happened in Game 1 of their Round 2 series – James Harden got injured.
With one of the big three out for some time, the Nets needed to look to the bench to pick up the slack. So far, that has not been an issue as Brooklyn currently holds a 2-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks. Going into the series, analysts seemed to be wondering how any team would be able to slow down Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant all at the same time, but that quickly changed. With Harden out, Milwaukee could now stick defensive menace Jrue Holiday on Kyrie and superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo on Kevin Durant and leave the remainder of the team to their own devices.
So far, this strategy has not really worked for the Bucks, so this brings up the question: How worried should Brooklyn be that James Harden is out?
I would be remiss if I were to say Harden does not have an impact, but if any of the big three were to have to get hurt, Brooklyn fans may be thankful it was him. Harden is the most recent addition to the Nets after demanding a trade from the Houston Rockets earlier this season. Because of that, Irving and Durant already had an established connection and were prepared to make this run on their own.
Had Harden been with the team the entire season, it would be different, but seeing that the trio played less than 10 games together this season, it is probably best the two healthy players have experience playing together.
Although Brooklyn fans are not jovial at the thought of their team being weakened, it is not time to fear just yet. If they would be able to do it without anyone, it would be James Harden.