How Good Are The Brooklyn Nets This Year?
The Brooklyn Nets have been named the favorites to win the NBA Championship this season after bolstering their sroster in the summer. Brooklyn was widely expected to seize the crown last season after bringing in three-time NBA scoring champion James Harden to play alongside Kevin Durrant and Kyrie Irving in a star-studded team. The Nets initially justified the hype by becoming the first team in the east to qualify for the playoffs and then overpowering the Celtics in the first round. However, it all fell apart when Irving and Harden suffered injuries in the conference semifinals. The Nets took the Milwaukee Bucks to Game 7, but ultimately lost to the eventual champion. Those injuries have left Nets fans wondering “what if” during the offseason, but head coach Steve Nash expects his players to regroup and reach new heights in 2021-22.
A Busy Offseason
The franchise has been busy throughout the offseason. It added veteran guard Patty Mills on a two-year deal from the San Antonio Spurs, while James Johnson and DeAndre’ Bembry were also added to the roster. That duo should offer strength in depth after Jeff Green’s departure. The Nets snapped up Cameron Thomas in the draft as the 27th overall pick, and he looks like a very promising scorer. Bruce Brown and Blake Griffin have been retained, and the coaching unit was beefed up with the additions of assistant coaches David Vanterpool, Brian Keefe and Kyle Korver, leaving Brooklyn stacked in all areas.
Can the Star Trio Stay Healthy?
Yet the Nets’ chances of success will largely depend on the ability of their star triumvirate to remain healthy. They are not the only superteam in the business, with Russell Westbrook joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the Lakers, while the Bucks will be strong again and many hoops fans expect to see a resurgent Golden State Warriors. Competition will be fierce, and one bad injury could be enough to derail Brooklyn’s chances of success. Yet fans can certainly dare to dream of the franchise securing its first ever NBA championship. Durrant has extended his contract in a four-year deal worth $198 million, and Harden should be tied down too, leaving the Nets as a dominant power in the east for the next half a decade. They just need to remain relatively free of injuries. Irving is an elite point guard when healthy. Harden should grow into the team in his second season. It is easy to make a case for Durrant being the best player in the business right now. He was a towering presence in the playoffs, and he can lead the Nets to victory in any game.
Top Pick for the Larry O’Brien Trophy
The Nets currently sit top of every preseason power ranking article and deservedly so. Mills should flourish off the bench, while plugging gaps if injuries do take their toll on the team. Johnson and Bembry are solid, versatile, experienced players, and the Nets boast a couple of promising rookies too. It is easy to see why Brooklyn is the clear favorite heading into the new season. Its main opponent in the east will be the Bucks, who brought in George Hill, Rodney Hood and Grayson Allen to compensate for the loss of PJ Tucker. If the Nets make it through to the NBA Finals, their potential opponents include a stacked Lakers team, the impressive Phoenix Suns, the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets. They would need to play at the peak of their powers to prevail, but a full-strength Nets would be the favorites to beat any of those teams. They could even form a new NBA dynasty.