Author Topic: As is, are the Nets a title contender?  (Read 5994 times)

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Re: As is, are the Nets a title contender?
« Reply #60 on: August 30, 2022, 10:42:58 AM »

Offline Surferdad

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They’re a very loose contender.  Most lineups are going to feature two or three bad defenders.  Not below average, but bad, in Kyrie, Harris, Curry, and Mills.  On top of that, injuries are going to be a major concern, both throughout the regular season and postseason. Kevin Durant played 55 games last year, and that was the most of anyone in that proposed starting lineup.  (Yes, Kyrie’s absences were somewhat self-inflicted, but he’s played more than 60 games once in the last 5 seasons, so the point remains).

So yeah, while we always caveat “if a team can stay healthy”, it’s a much more relevant caveat with the Nets, and it extends to their bench, with a key reserve in TJ Warren having not played in two years.  They can score points, a lot of them, and perhaps that could be enough, especially if they also have a miraculous season in terms of health.  But between the high potential for simultaneous unavailability for several key players and the significant defensive shortcomings up and down their rotation, I don’t think they’re in the top 10 of potential contenders.

Devil's advocate:  we beat the Nets by a total of 18 points over four games, including Game 1 at home that required a buzzer beater.  They've lost Bruce Brown from that team, but have added Simmons, Harris, O'Neale and Warren.

Outside of the Top 10 might be overselling things if the team gets focused?
On a team with toughness issues, losing Brown is a pretty big deal. He took a lot of responsibility on both sides of the ball in the series against us.

They also lost Dragic, Drummond and Griffin too. Simmons and Harris, and/or Warren is going to have to play pretty well for them to be as good as they were last year.

Durant played at a pretty elite level last year, and its pretty hard to believe he doesn't slip just a bit each year from here. That matters a lot too.

You don't think that Simmons + Harris + Warren + O'Neale is an upgrade over Brown + Drummond + Griffin + Dragic?

Ben Simmons, despite some clearly apparent faults, is an All-NBA First Team defender (twice), a 3x All-Star, an made the 3rd-team All-NBA team once.  He's a 16 / 8 / 8 type player.  Joe Harris is an elite shooter, leading the NBA in 3PT% two of the past four seasons (and he was on pace to lead it last year, prior to injuries.)

They definitely are. Nets are as talented as any team in the league  on paper and I’m interested to see how they look. With a trio of Durant/Irving/Simmons they are most unlikable team in the NBA, IMO. It’s good for the NBA and I look forward to rooting against them.
I think they could be an upgrade, but they will have to fully come back as players to do so, and the coaching will have to become much smarter to make this work. Its a fragile bunch, and the guys who left are better than you implied.

Is a different team. They have to start and play heavy minutes to Simmons and Claxton, and you can leave those two completely alone at the foul line and above without consequence. Under that situation, their 3rd option shooters (Harris/Curry and Mills) won't be getting any easy looks.

And when Simmons and or/Claxton leaves, better offensive players come in, but they have no defense. O'Neal can defend, but he's barely an offensive player. Drummond, Aldridge and Griffin weren't great, but they provided some physicality. They have no depth up front at all.

They only have one two-way player on the team in Durant, and he's going to be 34. A lot would have to go right for them to be top tier.
Yeah, the difference is not big in my mind:
- Bruce Brown was a important frontcourt piece, and he could hit a 3.  I take him over Simmons.
- Much as I like Dragic, I take a healthy TJ Warren over him.
- Harris/O'Neale is probably better than Drummond/Aldridge/Griffin, but no frontcourt depth without those 3, and Griffin actually had some decent moments vs. the C's in the playoffs.