Welcome to the team season preview series! From today to the start of the season, I’ll be recapping the team’s season, go through their moves in the off-season, and end with a discussion of what’s to come in the upcoming season for them.
Season & Off-Season Recap
Calling the Brooklyn Nets’ season and off-season wild is an understatement. There was always something new that happened throughout the entire season — from Kyrie Irving being a part-time player and the James Harden situation to Ben Simmons not suiting up and Kevin Durant asking for a trade.
It’s weird to think that this all happened in a span of 9-ish months.
The Nets entered the season as one of top teams to win the championship. They were, after all, an inch away from potentially winning last year.
And this season was meant to be much better, barring any injury. We’ve seen what that trio did together in a small sample size and that it was all about getting the reps together.
Unfortunately, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. That trio ended up playing just 32 minutes together — though they did have a ridiculous 23.8 net rating and a video-game number, 133.3 offensive rating.
So, once it was clear that Harden didn’t want to be in Brooklyn, the Nets had decided to make the best out of a bad situation, as they sent him to Philadelphia for Simmons.
That could have worked out very well — despite what was all said about Simmons, he’s still a very good player and one of the best defenders in the league, and would have fit well with the rest of the team. But, of course, that also didn’t happen.
So, after a roller-coaster of a season, they did manage to get into the playoffs — though it didn’t last long. People were saying that teams were actively trying to avoid the Nets in the first round, but then ended up getting swept.
And if you thought this season was wild, their off-season was this close to being a complete disaster. They were so, so close to almost blowing everything up, once Durant made it clear that he wanted out — which also could have lead to Irving or even Simmons being moved, too.
Luckily, that did blow over, and they are heading into the season as a better team that got eliminated by the Boston Celtics. Even with the entire Durant drama, they still managed to acquire Royce O’Neale and TJ Warren.
What’s in Store This Season
The first thing, as it always was with the Nets, is health. It’s a bit worrying that all three of their top players had some form of health issues to varying degrees.
Durant played 90 games in the last two seasons. Irving(though some of the absence was the vaccine situation) played 103 games across three seasons. And Simmons, who was also dealing with his back injuries, missed the entire season.
Before anything else, the only thing that will matter is having all those three players on the court. Of course, it would be dumb of us to expect even 70 games, but it will have to be much, much more than what they had this year.
If that happens, this team is really good. They still have Durant, who despite coming off an Achilies injury 2 years ago and has dealt with other injuries along the way, is still a top-7 talent.
Here are some stats for his 3pt shooting, one-on-one, mid-range, and passing. Those are all the seasons from 2014 to now — and as you can see, there are a lot of areas he’s still peaking in.
It’s insane to think that at this age, he’s still scoring at an elite level, just as he was around eight years ago. Hopefully, he will be able to stay healthy and continue this for as long as possible.
This applies to Irving. We know what we’re going to get from him — at least when it comes to on the basketball court. He’s one of the best point guards, an elite 3-level scorer, and a hooper.
There’s little to no questions when it comes to their fit, their skills, their production, and everything else they bring to the table. The only question — though, a huge question — is what’s their availability like?
Though, the main the question will be regarding Simmons. He’s the big-all unknown on this team for a few reasons.
Firstly, how is he going to look like after a year off? What kind of role is he going to play? Is it going to be entirely different to how we see him being used in Philadelphia? How is he going to fit alongside the others?
There are so many questions because of what he brings, what he does well and what he doesn’t do. He plays like a big in the half-court. He’s not a shot creator, nor a spacer. So, it will be interesting to see what Nash does with him.
He’s still a great player, who I feel like will provide much more when surrounded by guys like Durant and Irving. Simmons as the third best player will be better.
He should also be the lone big in most lineups, which should make his role on offense much easier.
But it will be interesting to see how they’ll go about it on defense. He’s an elite wing defender, great at point-of-attack, and versatile, but I don’t know what your defense may be like if he’s your interior presence, too.
So, this team should 100% be better than they were last year — mainly because they will also have most of their players actually playing in the first place. But even if you’d have both teams at full health, this team is solid.
Two top talents on offense, one of the best defenders in the league, great shooting, and other complimentary pieces around the stars. Barring injury, I do think this team will finish top-5 and be a contender.