The Brooklyn Nets look like a much-improved team over the past month or so.
They’ve won 18 out of 25 games under coach Jacque Vaughn, and Kevin Durant continues to prove that age is just a number for some players.
Kyrie Irving has been on a tear since coming back from his suspension, and even Ben Simmons is finally getting back to the player he used to be in Philadelphia.
So, judging by what we’ve seen recently, there’s no reason to believe this Nets team isn’t a true contender.
Nonetheless, they still haven’t done enough to convince FS1’s Nick Wright that they’re the real deal.
Per Wright, this team doesn’t have what it takes — both mentally and defensively — to get past the top-two teams in the Eastern Conference:
“In order for the Nets to make the Conference Finals, they have to beat Boston or Milwaukee. And they’re not capable of it,” Wright started. “They’re not good enough; they are not consistent enough. They are not top enough on the defensive end — despite what they have shown the last month — over the course of long, hard playoff series to deal with the inevitable adversity and respond. This team has been the worst in the league at dealing with adversity, and that at some point is coming.”
"In order for the Nets to make the Conference Finals, they have to beat Boston or Milwaukee. And they're not capable of it. … I'm telling you, on Dec. 22, the Nets are more likely to get bounced in Round 1 than they are to make Round 3."
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) December 22, 2022
Actually, this has been the story with the Nets since they signed Irving and Durant.
On paper, they always look like the team to beat, but the paper doesn’t win championships.
So, as much as they’ve impressed us during that recent stretch, they still need to prove that they can keep that intensity going in the postseason when it actually matters.