Basketball: Are the Nets Actually a Title Threat?

For anyone interested in knowing about my feelings on whether this trade was good for the Brooklyn Nets, and who the leader of the team should be, then check out my article on https://overtimesportsonline.com/2021/02/18/brooklyn-looking-to-challenge-for-the-title/ for more on that. 

As promised on the aforementioned article, let’s delve into the Nets trade a little more. 

How have they got on so far? 

Nets haven’t set the league alight, and it’s hard to see how that will change. Since the trade, Nets have won 11 and lost 6. More worrying is the number of points they are having to score in order to get the win. They have kept the opposition under 110 on two occasions in those 17 games – wins at home to Miami Heat (85-98) and Indian Pacers (94-104). In fact, they have conceded an average of 121.8 points, which is incredible. Their game at the Washington Wizards saw a total of 295 points (146-149 loss) which is a sign of what needs to change.

Can the Nets win a championship? 

Winning a championship is going to be tough for this team because of three important factors. The first is that they are defensively very weak without Jarrett Allen. Second, this group are contracted to be together for a couple of years which may not be long enough to develop as a team. Third, they don’t have a clear leader, which is very important for success. If we look back at the aforementioned super teams, they all had a leader in Lebron James (Cavs and Heat) and Draymond Green (Warriors). Everybody knew their roles, and what was required. Yet, the Nets do not have that.

Once Kevin Durant is declared the leader, and the other players are lead appropriately, the Brookly Nets will stand a much better chance of challenging the likes of the Milwaukee Bucks or Boston Celtics – one of which they will undoubtedly have to face in the playoffs – if they want to play in the NBA finals. Waiting in that final will likely be a powerhouse team from the Western Conference, most likely the Los Angeles Lakers.  

As for Irving and Harden, they need to play to their strengths. Harden’s passing ability is at an elite level which makes him the perfect point guard. He can find passes that Kyrie Irving refuses to find. In fact, Harden is averaging 11.8 assists per game, which is more than the next two highest players combined (Irving and Durant). 

What about Kyrie Irving? 

Despite being one of the best handlers of the basketball and an immense scorer, Irving has always been a tough player to play with. His belief in his own ability borders arrogance, making him a tough teammate to play with. At the Boston Celtics, Irving was criticised a lot by the media for not sharing the ball. When he left the Celtics, both Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum were probably amongst the happiest of the resining roster. In the 2017-18 season, both Brown and Tatum scored heavily due to Irving missing the postseason. The following year, they both dropped heavily in scoring because Irving controlled the Celtics attack. Since Irving left the Celtics, both Tatum and Brown have started to show the ability that all NBA fans expected from them. 

So, if he is able to let Harden control the ball, and let Durant lead the team, especially in scoring, then Nets could be unbeatable. Irving is best when he pops up with quick scoring when Durant is maybe struggling. Something that he will not mind doing for now, but come crunch time during the postseason, with time winding down, and the team needing a a basket to win the game, Kyrie Irving’s instinct will take over, and he will want the ball, even if it not for the benefit of the team.

As you can see, there are a lot of if’s, but’s and maybe’s surrounding the Nets this year, which makes for an intriguing NBA season. For now, they will continue to look unstoppable with the ball, and lazy without, but only when the playoffs begin will we truly see what they, and their super stars are capable of. 

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