James Harden Still Playing Himself Into Form

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James Harden’s frustration with his current level of play is evident. And it’s something Harden owns. Following the Brooklyn Nets loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Harden said, As much as I want to get back to just, you know, 30’s and 40 points, I can’t do that. As much as I want to, obviously I would love to.”

Harden expressed his frustration in how long it has taken him to find his usual form. Harden spent the offseason recovering from a last season’s hamstring injuries. The Nets star guard said, “I had no opportunities to play pickup or nothing this summer. Everything was rehab for three months, from a Grade 2 injury that happened three times in one season. So this is my fifth game of trying to just play with competition against somebody else. And as much as I want to rush the process and be back to hooping and killing, [have to] take your time.”

Through five games, Harden is averaging his lowest stats since early in his career, when he was coming off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden also seems to be slowly adapting to the NBA’s new points of emphasis on offensive players flopping for fouls. To this point, Harden has averaged just 3.0 free throw attempts per game. That is the lowest free throw rate of his career, and well below his recent rate.