Nets superstar James Harden expressed confidence that he’s starting to get his health and conditioning back after a 39-point game against New Orleans on Friday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com.
Harden, who’s coming back from a Grade 2 hamstring strain suffered last season, also added 12 assists in the contest. It’s a significant step forward for the 2018 Most Valuable Player, especially considering how poorly he started the campaign.
“I’m getting there,” Harden said. “It wasn’t going to take long. I mean, this is the highest [level] in the sport is the NBA, the most talented players in this world. So it’s not going to be easy for me to just come out there and do what I do. It takes a lot of hard work to be playing at a point to which you guys have seen me play at.
“When I’m not scoring 30 points, when I’m averaging 18-some points, it’s like, ‘What’s wrong with James?’ It’s pretty solid still. I’ve been playing so well and so extremely at another level to where you guys set standards for me, and I set standards for myself as well. For me, I just continue to work. I feel a lot better, and the work don’t stop.”
There’s more out of Brooklyn today:
- Veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge has provided strong offensive production off the bench so far this season, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. Aldridge, who came out of retirement to re-sign with Brooklyn in the offseason, is averaging 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, shooting 60% from the floor and 46% from deep in 12 games.
- Brian Lewis of the New York Post explores the trade value of Kyrie Irving and how relevant he is to the team’s ambitions. Irving has yet to play this season for the Nets, who refuse to let him suit up until he becomes fully vaccinated or until New York City’s vaccine requirement changes. Irving can only play road games due to NYC’s mandate — something the Nets won’t allow.
- Speaking of Irving, the 29-year-old received praise from former Finals MVP Andre Iguodala this week, as relayed by Sam Amick of The Athletic. Iguodala doubled down on his opinion that Irving is a top-20 player ever, further explaining his thinking in a conversation with Amick.