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Kyrie Irving Says He'll Play SG for Nets, James Harden Will Run Point Guard

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIFebruary 14, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) high fives guard James Harden (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets' Big Three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden are still figuring out how best to play with each other a month after they joined forces. The next iteration of that experiment has Irving moving to shooting guard while Harden primarily handles the ball.

Irving told ESPN's Malika Andrews he and Harden came to the agreement a few days ago.

"I just looked at him and said, 'You're the point guard,'" Irving said. "And I'm going to play shooting guard. That's it."

That experiment worked out quite well in Saturday's 134-117 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

In Durant's first game back in the Bay Arena since leaving the Warriors, the Nets' trio scored or assisted on 100 points, per ESPN Stats & Info. In the process, Harden became the first Nets player with multiple games of at least 15 points and 15 assists since Deron Williams in 2011-12.

Irving finished with 23 points, while Durant added 20.

It was nothing short of a triumph for a roster still learning how to win together.

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For Harden, taking over ball-handling duties has not led to the type of isolation offense he became infamous for with the Houston Rockets. With Irving and Durant beside him, he has more options to keep the offense flowing, especially against defenses that struggle to match up with Durant's length.

Brooklyn (16-12) has won eight of 14 games since the Harden trade, but expecting the offensive chemistry to be perfect immediately was never part of the plan. For now, Irving, Harden and Durant are attempting a selfless approach that emphasizes each player's best skills.

That means less time for Irving on the ball and more distributions by Harden.

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