James Harden’s short-lived time as a Brooklyn Net left a sour impression for some, but Bruce Brown got nothing but unforgettable experiences being around the All-Star guard.
In his Thursday appearance on the Dan LeBatard show, the Denver Nuggets swingman revealed that it was Harden who helped the team to develop off-court bond.
“I think locker room-wise, it was cool, but we really didn’t do much together off the court,” Brown said. “But when James was there, obviously, it was more fun. He did a whole lot of events for us. “When he left, the locker room was kind of quiet. Nobody really did much together.
” … James is a great teammate on and off the court. Definitely was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had, especially having some good times out. But I mean, he’s a different breed.”
Harden notably arrived in the Nets last 2020-21 midseason after expressing his demand to be traded by the Houston Rockets. With Brooklyn still missing that floor general to navigate their high-scoring lineup, the star guard fortified them in becoming a superteam with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving already in town.
Harden’s playmaking and added scoring prowess aided the Nets to tally an overwhelming offensive rating (118.3) that led the league. Brooklyn also shot efficiently with a top-rated 49.4 percent collectively and had the second-highest points per game with 118.6 points average.
Brown credited Harden for serving as a glue guy for them at that time to develop their brotherhood out of the four corners.
“I mean just out, having a good time, having drinks, just forgetting about the game and just being in the moment.”
Despite their regular season success, Harden and the Nets failed to live up to the hype as injuries robbed them to win the 2021 title. And the following year, reports of his frustration about the team’s inconsistency broke out and he got traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Brown stated that Harden’s exit had a significant impact within the Brooklyn camp on and off the court.
“When he left, [the team’s off-court stuff ] kinda lacked,” Brown stated. “There was only a few people hanging out with each other on the team. And then on the court, it was kinda tough. Our offense was basically just straight KD [Kevin Durant] and Kai [Kyrie Irving] isos. Teams just loaded, as you’ve seen against the Celtics in that [2021 first-round] series.”
Harden’s departure from Brooklyn only served as the first domino of the Nets team’s failed superteam experiment to win that championship, as the franchise now dwells with a new era following a dramatic midseason fire sale to their top-two main men in Durant and Irving.