For the first time in franchise history, a Nets player has been named player of the month in consecutive months.
The NBA announced today that Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the month of March. The honor is Harden’s second as a Net, in his second full month with the franchise, and the 11th of his career. Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets was named Player of the Month in the Western Conference.
Harden is the first player to earn Player of the Month honors in each of his first two full months with a new team since the award’s inception in 1979-80, and he is the first player in franchise history to earn Player of the Month honors in the same season as well as back-to-back.
Harden led Brooklyn to an NBA-best 11-2 record in March (11-1 in games he appeared in), recording averages of 27.9 points (second in the East among players that appeared in at least five games in March) on 43.8 percent shooting from the field and 87.7 percent shooting from the free-throw line, 9.8 rebounds, 11.5 assists (second in the East and the second-highest mark in a month in Nets history) and 1.6 steals in 38.8 minutes per game. He registered six triple-doubles, second-most in the East and a franchise record for a month, and nine double-doubles, good for third-most in the East.
Harden has now averaged at least 20.0 points and 10.0 assists for the third straight month, while all other players in Nets history have reached those averages twice. Brooklyn’s 11-2 record matched the best record in a month in franchise history, as the Nets previously compiled an 11-2 record in Feb. 2004. Led by Harden, Brooklyn secured sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with Wednesday night’s victory over Houston, representing the first time the Nets have been atop the East standings since April 13, 2003 (49-31 record).
In 33 games with Brooklyn since being acquired via trade, Harden has registered averages of 26.1 points on 46.8 percent shooting from the field, 36.2 percent shooting from 3-point range and 86.7 percent shooting from the free-throw line, 8.9 rebounds, 11.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 38.3 minutes per contest. He’s notched 27 double-doubles and 12 triple-doubles, matching the single-season franchise-record for triple-doubles. Since his Nets debut on Jan. 16 vs. Orlando,
Harden ranks first in the league in assists per game and is second in triple-doubles and tied for second in double-doubles, while leading Brooklyn to the second-best record in the league in that timeframe (26-9). For the full season, Harden has seen action in 41 games with Brooklyn and Houston, averaging 25.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 11.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 37.9 minutes per game.
Harden is the fourth Net to earn Player of the Month honors since the award was first presented in the 1979-80 season and the third to win it multiple times, joining Vince Carter and Jason Kidd. But neither of them was named in consecutive months. Nor did they ever named in the same season.