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James Harden is already feeling the effects of the new rule changes


The Brooklyn Nets are struggling at the start of the season, and a lot of it has to do with James Harden's performance. He is not getting the usual calls he had been getting before due to the new rules, and despite the small sample size, that might be a problem for the Nets moving forward.

Harden's cold start to the season

Brooklyn is 1-2 in their first three games of the season. It's still early, but some fans are wondering the reason behind their underwhelming start. When you look at James Harden's numbers, they are not what you expect from a superstar of his caliber.

The Beard likes to score in various ways, but one basketball move he had been most successful with in the past was baiting the defender to commit a foul while he was in the act of shooting. With the new rules in place this season, that's no longer an option, and the effect on his scoring is apparent. Steve Nash is more than aware of it.

Harden attempted nine shots from the charity stripe in his first three games of the regular season. Two years ago, he recorded 48 free throw attempts in the same number of games. So far, he's averaging 20 points, 7.5 rebounds, and eight assists, all decent numbers but below his career averages of 25 points per game. You can take a look at his highlights in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers below:

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As seen in the video, The Beard was getting more in-your-face type of contest from defenders who chose to stay home and challenge each shot, knowing fouls would not be called like before. The upstroke is yet another poor scoring outing by The Beard.

What should Harden, Nets do next?

The continued absence of Kyrie Irving gives Harden the lion's share of handling the ball, directing traffic, and scoring. Although his rebounds and assists are up compared to his career averages, it's clear that the Nets need Harden to be a scorer rather than a facilitator. However, with the new rules in place, the league has shut down what was once a steady source of scoring for the shooting guard and other guards in the league, such as Steph Curry and Bradley Beal. So what's next?

Great players adjust no matter the circumstances. What Harden needs to improve as the season goes along is his mid-range jumpers. He is only shooting 39 percent from the field, well below his career average of 44.4 percent while shooting much better from the 3-point area -- 39.1 percent on 7.7 attempts. However, coach Steve Nash will have to devise a plan to get more out of the 9-time All-Star, especially since the two have formed a close bond as former MVPs and Mike D'Antoni's disciples.

The Nets and Harden must figure things out soon. Their season is already full of question marks. Harden's scoring shouldn't be one of them.

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