There hasn’t been a team more popular than the Brooklyn Nets this offseason. Their fans have been part of a roller coaster ride that has gone mostly downhill since the Celtics swept them. One day Kyrie Irving wants to be a Laker, the next he signs an extension with the Nets. The day after that, KD requests a trade, and Irving follows. This team just can’t stay committed to one another, potentially resulting in one of the biggest “what ifs” in NBA history. There is a slim chance though, that the group decides to go again, if and only if Steve Nash and GM Sean Marks are fired. If this happens, the possibilities are truly endless.
The first move Brooklyn made was acquiring Royce O’Neale from the Utah Jazz in exchange for a first round pick. O’Neale is a forward who makes plays behind the scenes. He is a solid defender, and shot near 40% from beyond the arc last season. He should be coming off the bench, if this team decides to stick together. Retaining Nic Claxton on a 2 year, $20 million deal is a big move as the Nets lost Andre Drummond to Chicago this offseason. Claxton is young, and still has a lot of improvement to make, but has been impressive so far. One of the most underrated moves I believe was made this offseason was the signing of T.J. Warren. Yes, he hasn’t played much at all since the bubble, but he is still an efficient scorer. Warren can catch fire at any time, and his build certainly helps him do so. He’s like a mini version of Kawhi Leonard in my opinion. Of course, Warren will need some time to adjust back to live NBA action, but once he does so, this team will have many options when it comes to who can score the ball.
What could be…
I get it, there’s a ton of distractions within the organization that make the star players want out. Even actions of Kyrie make KD want out. But, outside of all that, when you look at this roster, it is complete. You have defense, shooters, playmakers, and a ton of talent. It’s insane just how complete this Brooklyn team is, especially with the additions of T.J. Warren and Royce O’Neale. The two leading scorers add up to average 57 points a game, followed by Ben Simmons, who is one of the best playmakers, and defensive guards in the league. Not to mention, sharpshooter Seth Curry, who was a 52% 3 point shooter in the playoffs.
Potential starting 5:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Ben Simmons (or switch with Kyrie)
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: T.J. Warren
C: Nic Claxton
On top of that, you have Patty Mills, Royce O’Neale, Bruce Brown, and Seth Curry coming off of the bench.
Compared to other threats in the Eastern Conference, the Nets are not shabby at all. A legitimate starting 5, a solid bench which could get even deeper if the squad doesn’t split, and help on all aspects of the game. I believe Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Miami are in the same realm as a healthy Brooklyn team. The Nets have the pieces to beat all 3 of these teams in a best of 7 series. It’s a matter of staying healthy, and having good chemistry. Unlike Philadelphia, Ben Simmons won’t need to shoot. He won’t have nearly as much pressure to perform, as he’d be surrounded with some of the all time greats. We know what Kyrie Irving is capable of come playoff time, as well as KD. It is possible at the end of the day.
BUT, all this can only happen with the firing of Sean Marks and Steve Nash. Who does the front office want to commit to? Potentially having one of the best teams in the league, or a fresh reset?
Top Photo: Mark Slocum-AP Photo