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James Harden on Nets: “At full strength, nobody can beat us”

Michael Holley and Michael Smith respond to the NBA 2K22 ratings and evaluate whether players like Kevin Durant, who believes his rating should've been 99 instead of 96, have good reason to be frustrated.

The Brooklyn Nets head into next season as the clear favorites to win it all (even if our partners at Points Bet have odds for the Lakers that are close).

And they know it. James Harden sat down for a Q&A with Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated and was asked if next season could bring his first ring.

“At full strength, nobody can beat us. I’m just going to leave it at that.”

He’s not wrong.

With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with James Harden, the Nets have the best big three in the game, and quality players around them in Joe Harris, Patty Mills, Blake Griffin, and others. This is a team that took the Bucks to an intense seven games playing without two-thirds of those stars in the final games. Give the Nets a full season to form chemistry and they will be very difficult to beat.

If they are healthy.

Harden talked about that, too, when asked if the Nets entered this season with a chip on their shoulders.

There’s no chip at all, no chip for us. We’re just excited. We’re focused. We know what we have to do. The biggest thing is us being healthy, which we will be. Honestly, we’re just excited to play a whole season together. That’s the exciting part.

Can those three stars stay healthy most of the season and through the playoff grind? That is the question that will hang over the Nets all season, and while it hangs over every team to a degree, the history of last season and players coming off injuries makes it more pertinent in Brooklyn.

Stay healthy, and Harden likely gets that ring.