How good are the Brooklyn Nets? Did they get better this offseason? Where do you expect them to finish in the Eastern Conference?
Added: Royce O’Neale, T.J. Warren, Edmond Sumner, Markieff Morris
Lost: Bruce Brown, Andre Drummond, Goran Dragić, James Johnson
Sean Marks made some good moves during the Kevin Durant trade saga. Royce O’Neale is exactly what this team missed on the perimeter last year, and even though the Bruce Brown loss hurts he could be an upgrade. T.J. Warren is the perfect buy-low candidate for a comeback season playing alongside other stars. The fact that he didn’t garner much free agent interest isn’t encouraging though. The stars are what matter here. Does Durant want to be here? If he does, he played like a MVP candidate early last season. Kyrie Irving’s on-court abilities aren’t in doubt, and he’ll need to prove himself reliable for his next contract.
I loved the Ben Simmons fit when he arrived at the trade deadline. Now, I actually need to see him on the floor again to believe when he last played over 14 months ago. He’ll need to embrace guarding centers for this roster to work. Steve Nash’s defensive shortcomings as a coach loom large and he might’ve lost Durant’s faith. Last time we saw Nic Claxton, he shot 1-for-11 at the free throw line in an elimination game. Can it be all about basketball here? If so, and it hasn’t been for three years, they’re a great team on paper. They’re still one that matches up poorly against Boston come playoff time. Pencil them in around the four or five seed, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this era falls apart by mid-season.
This is Schrödinger’s Basketball Team, and we’re not going to have any idea what they actually are until the box gets opened. No team in the league has more going on behind-the-scenes than the Nets, and the fact that this whole offseason saga resulted in no substantial change is perhaps the most perplexing possible outcome. At the end of the day, this is still a team with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and a solid toolbox of useful role players, and if they stay relatively healthy, they should be at least a mid-tier playoff team. But would any of us really be surprised if this team’s house of cards finally collapsed on itself this season?
Betting on volatile stocks is never a good idea, so assigning a preseason win total to the ultimate wild card in the NBA is a fool’s errand. On their best days, they have three All-Stars, two of the best ISO scorers in the world, and a ton of veterans and shooters surrounding them. On their worst, they have two of the least reliable personalities in the league, lack defensive-minded personnel and are rather inexperienced down low. They could win 50 games on talent alone, or blow up in mid-December and barely resemble this group we see before us.
Yes, the Nets got better. Adding TJ Warren, Edmond Sumner, Royce O’Neale, and Markieff Morris definitely qualifies as getting better, but it’s never been about the talent with Brooklyn. It’s about whether or not they can stay healthy and avoid drama. If they can do both of those things, they’re a top-four seed. If not, hello Play-In Tournament.
I don’t care about the internal turmoil or the unreliability of their stars, the Nets are still a juggernaut with a roster equipped to win a championship. Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons might inexplicably go missing for a week, but when they’re playing at their peak abilities, they perfectly complement Kevin Durant – Kyrie as a secondary scorer and Simmons as a playmaker/defender. They’ve got sharpshooters with Patty Mills, Joe Harris, and Seth Curry; young players poised for improvement in Kessler Edwards, Cam Thomas, and Nic Claxton; and reliable veterans with Royce O’Neal and TJ Warren. Durant + secondary stars + competent role players = championship contender. They only thing standing in their way is themselves.
The Nets are weird. I’ve officially given up on trying to figure them out.
What is more likely for the Nets?
This poll is closed
A Finals appearance
Another appearance in the Play-in games