Photo From: Behance
With the regular season coming to an end, there have been tons of conversations about the play-in tournament, potential matchups, and most importantly the Championship. I have been hearing a lot of Nets vs Lakers talks. I don’t like those talks. I don't think the Nets will make it out of the east, nor do I want them too if I'm being honest. Keep reading to find out what I think is holding them back.
Yes, they do have the best record in the Eastern Conference, they do also have the most stacked offense in the league. Obviously, with top-shooter James Harden, monster handler Kyrie Irving, and sniper Kevin Durant, how can you exclude them from the championship conversation? But what if that's not enough to be on the top this 2020-2021 season? Yes, right now, everything surrounding the Nets seems perfect, but that doesn't mean a championship is in their near future.
Photo From: Hoops Habit
Let me start with their defense. Defense wins games. Defense wins championships. The biggest issue we have seen this season with the Nets is their ability to show up on both ends of the floor. A fun fact that I stumbled across recently was that every single NBA Champion was ranked at least 11th in defensive rating since 2001, and the Nets have been sitting in the ’20s for the majority of this season. We also see that their record isn't pretty when they don't perform to a certain level on offense. Although we have seen them slightly improve as the season continues, how will that match up to those top defensive teams they will be facing? But obviously, we have seen what this team is capable of, we have seen how these top individual players perform in the postseason, and not to forget that they have way more than these three guys. Blake Griffin, Joe Harris, Jeff Green, and DeAndre Jordan are just a few more examples of the aid they receive on the offensive end.
Photo From: Sports Illustrated
My biggest issue with the Nets is chemistry. The big three have only played, correct me if I'm wrong, but seven games together this season. SEVEN GAMES. You can't tell me that's enough to win a championship, to me that's not even deserving. I mean, last season the Nets played without Durant and took on most of the games without Irving, then you have two guys (Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown) coming from the Pistons, and two guys (James Harden and Jeff Green) coming from the Rockets. Last season this exact team was carried by Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Spencer Dinwiddie, where they got swept by the Raptors. It is extremely, extremely, rare to see a new team take it all, it just doesn't happen. And don't bring up that 2016 Golden State team and KD going there, because that was already an acclaimed team, that was KD joining a strong established team. This season it's KD, Harden, Griffin, etc., joining a healthy Kyrie. It's completely different, this team wasn't established to begin with. Yeah, you bring up their success during the regular season, but without that established chemistry and time together I don't find them being very successful in the postseason, in series-like runs. The regular season is the time to figure out how your team should run with a full system, that's not for the post-season to figure out. I mean I am sure like most of you, you would rather have a team thrive during the postseason than the regular season, showing how far that team has come since the start of the season. But with the Nets, we're not really going to be seeing the evolution of this team, because we've barely gotten a full team. Chemistry is IMPORTANT, throw the best players on a single team, but what is that without CHEMISTRY?
Nothin' But Nets
This chemistry talk also goes into the conversation of how this offense that has been taking them to the top, can potentially be the thing that causes some issues. You might be confused but hear me out, yes, it's their offense that got them this far, because it sure ain't their defense. But hear me out!! I’ve watched all these players for years now, focusing on them specifically in the playoffs. Harden physically can't exert his usual levels when in series situations, playing the same offense, same defense, back to back to back. I especially noticed this last season with the Rockets. He likes having the ball in his hand, likes taking charge, but so does teammate Kyrie Irving. Kyrie leaves the Cavs to be that top dog on a new team, the Boston Celtics, and if you watched that playoff run, nobody was talking about Kyrie in the way we were used to talking about Kyrie. So is he really the certain guy to take charge? And this is what I'm talking about when I bring up the whole experience thing. Now if Kyrie gets his shots, and Harden gets his shots, how much is Durant getting? Like they haven't played enough games together to fully understand what each individual player needs, what each player deserves, it just isn't enough experience. In MY opinion, Durants the number one player on the team, In crunch time situations I would want KD taking charge, but with these three on the floor at the same time in a tight playoff situation, Harden is gonna want Harden to take charge, and Kyrie is gonna want Kyrie to take charge.
Photo From: CBS Sports
Overall, yes, this Brooklyn Nets team is absolutely stacked, they could 100% do what most people think they are gonna do and make a run for the Championship. But, WHY ARE WE AVOIDING THESE RED FLAGS?!?! Does it not concern you guys that the big three has only played 7 games together?? I understand why they are favorites in the east, it's new, it's exciting, it's scary, it sounds perfect. But relate that to the Clippers? They were supposed to give the Lakers a run for the money, instead, we just saw a big flop in the postseason, should we expect the same from the Nets? What do you guys think? Can Brooklyn actually pull this off? Who will be their biggest competition in the east be?