Though the Brooklyn Nets' Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving is regarded as an amazing offensive group, the Golden State Warriors' Big Three featuring Kevin Durant was arguably better.
However, let's find out why the Golden State Warriors' Big Three was a more potent Big Three than the Brooklyn Nets'.
Five reasons why Golden State Warriors' Big Three with Kevin Durant was better than the Brooklyn Nets' trio
James would know that trio quite well, as he had to face them in consecutive NBA Finals in 2017 and 2018, falling to them both times. James' Cleveland Cavaliers' team at the time was simply overmatched.
On that note, let us have a look at five reasons why 'The King' is right when he says Kevin Durant's Big Three with the Golden State Warriors was better than the current Brooklyn Nets trio.
#5 Kevin Durant was the only new in the Golden State Warriors trio
Kevin Durant's move to the Golden State Warriors in 2016 was clearly more shocking than James Harden's trade to the Brooklyn Nets. But that did not bring about a revolution in the Golden State Warriors' dynamic.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had shared the backcourt for five full seasons and already had an NBA championship ring when Durant arrived.
Durant and Irving played together for the first time at the start of the 2020-21 NBA season; Harden has played just six full games with the KD-Irving pair since he arrived at the Brooklyn Nets.
#4 The basketball fit between the Splash Brothers and Kevin Durant was better
Though they have been able to find their way offensively, Durant, Harden and Irving are not a better fit than Durant, Curry and Thompson were.
In Durant's first season with the Golden State Warriors, Curry's shot attempts per game were only lowered by 1.9, and Durant went from 19.2 attempts in his final year at OKC to 16.5 at Oakland.
Meanwhile, Klay Thompson averaged slightly more shots per game, with the team playing virtually at the same pace from the 2015-16 season without Durant.
With the Brooklyn Nets, Harden is averaging 15.3 shots per game, while he averaged 21.1 in his last five seasons at Houston. He has sacrificed some of his scoring ability to facilitate for his teammates as the team is looking to build chemistry.
#3 Playing alongside two of the greatest shooters in NBA history
James Harden is a former NBA MVP and one of the most impressive scorers in NBA history. Kyrie Irving is also a tremendous guard who can score from every offensive area and create make incredible shots.
However, Stephen Curry can be as good a scorer as Harden and Irving while being more effective. Harden has 44/36/86 shooting splits in his career, while Irving has 47/39/88. While those are stunning numbers from the two superstars, Curry still has better percentages in every level (48/43/91)
Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history. By the time Kevin Durant decided to join the Golden State Warriors, Curry had led the team to the title in 2015 and to the Finals in 2016.
Curry and Thompson's Golden State Warriors even went through Harden's Rockets in the 2015 Western Conference Finals in five games; Curry even led the team against Durant's (and Russell Westbrook's) OKC Thunder in the 2016 WCF.
Thompson is also supremely efficient in offense (46/42/85 shooting splits) and might even be the second-best shooter of all time.
#2 Golden State Warriors were a much better defensive unit than the current Brooklyn Nets
So far, it is quite evident that the Brooklyn Nets are not great defensively, and it starts with their Big Three. Though Kyrie Irving and James Harden can play good defense, they are not great defenders.
The Golden State Warriors' backcourt of Curry and Thompson was different. While Curry mostly played on the passing lines, Klay Thompson was a member of the All-Defensive First Team. That is something Irving and Harden are unlikely to accomplish in the current stage of their careers.
Moreover, while Kevin Durant still has the same impact in offense, he naturally was a better defender back then, as he is older now.
#1 Prior championship experience between Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson
As a unit, the Golden State Warriors that added Kevin Durant to their roster in 2016 were already a proven team in the NBA Playoffs. Though they were coming off a huge loss in the 2016 NBA Finals, where they blew a 3-1 lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Curry and Thompson had already won the 2015 NBA Finals.
Durant's arrival at the Brooklyn Nets and his Big Three partnership with Harden and Irving is at a very different stage, though. The Brooklyn Nets are only getting used to playing together, and their Big Three has not even played ten games together so far in the 2020-21 NBA season.
The Golden State already had a system when Durant arrived, and it was a big reason why he joined the team in the first place and why they were so dominant.