Last season, the Brooklyn Nets were forced to start over when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant demanded to be traded and got shipped out, and at that point, it was clear the experiment with the two had failed.
They now have a young and interesting team with prospects such as Ben Simmons, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Spencer Dinwiddie, and while they may not be contenders, they won’t be pushovers either.
In fact, Simmons says Brooklyn will be “scary” this season because of their defensive versatility, via NBACentral.
Ben Simmons expects Brooklyn to be ‘scary’ this season
“It’s kind of scary when you have multiple guys on the floor that can guard 1 through 5”
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) October 2, 2023
Perhaps Brooklyn’s best and most versatile defender is the 6-foot-6 Bridges, and after arriving in town last season in the Durant trade, he took off offensively, putting up 26.1 points a game.
He is regarded as one of the very best two-way players in the game, and he recently turned 27 years of age, so he may be just hitting his stride.
Forward Dorian Finney-Smith, whom they received in the Irving trade from the Dallas Mavericks, is also a capable 3-and-D player, as is Royce O’Neale.
Center Nic Claxton is a proven shot-blocker, and last season he started to emerge by averaging 12.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks a game while leading the league with a 70.5 percent field-goal percentage.
Simmons is the wild card here — if he’s healthy and his head is on straight, he can also provide the Nets with defense at more than one position while running the show and attacking in transition.
The Eastern Conference will be very competitive, but perhaps the Nets can compete for a play-in tournament spot this season.NEXT: Nets Announce 2023 Training Camp Roster