So far, it hasn’t worked out, due to injuries and massive roster turnover.
Early last season, the Nets executed a massive trade that got them James Harden, but with all three missing games because of injuries, the team fell by the slimmest of margins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Milwaukee Bucks.
This season, Brooklyn went through significant upheaval again when it essentially swapped Harden for Ben Simmons.
The Nets currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and have no more than a puncher’s chance of winning it all this summer, as Irving and Durant still haven’t played much together and Simmons hasn’t even suited up for his new team.
But next year, they should be the favorites to win their first-ever world championship for a few reasons.
3. Simmons Will Address The Team’s Biggest Weakness
The big question surrounding the Nets the last couple of seasons has been their defense, or more accurately, their lack thereof.
When healthy, the team can put up lots of points in a very efficient manner, but if they cannot stop anyone, they won’t be able to beat good or great teams without scoring over 120 points on a regular basis.
"The Nets do put up points, but the defense is concerning. A lot of our optimism was tied to Ben Simmons & I've gotten nothing. The best Simmons highlight was the Louis Vuitton sweater in Philly. Without Simmons, it feels like the defense is a huge liability." — @kevinwildes pic.twitter.com/cinSIqSjM1
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) March 24, 2022
Simmons, a 6-foot-11 point guard, can guard players of just about any position on defense, and he has been named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team in each of the last two seasons.
Last year, he was also one of the leading candidates for the Defensive Player of the Year.
Jayson Tatum is one player that has killed us nearly every time we have played him. Here is some of what Ben Simmons brings on defense. pic.twitter.com/TbHUyGTR6s
— Ian (@isb0121) April 1, 2022
Once Simmons helps the Nets get stops (and defensive rebounds), he will also give them one of the NBA’s deadliest fast breaks and early offensive attacks.
The former Louisiana State University star is one of the league’s most potent players in the open court, when he decides to be aggressive and force the issue.
Imagine Durant getting out on the wing and getting easy dunks from Simmons, as well as the scary potential of him and Irving giving the Nets two high-level ball-handlers in transition.
2. The Nets Have Good Role Players
During their gap year of 2020 when Durant was rehabbing from a torn Achilles, Brooklyn managed to develop some young, promising role players.
In addition, the Nets have amassed some veteran role players who will play a big role once the team is whole.
Along with new additions Curry, Drummond and veteran guard Goran Dragic, Brooklyn will soon boast lots of quality depth.
1. Durant And Irving Are Hungry
Irving also presumably asked to be traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers for a similar reason: to get out from under LeBron James‘ shadow and win a ring on his own.
Although Durant is already arguably one of the top 15 players of all time, many trash his legacy just because he won his two rings with a “ready-made” team in Golden State.
He is very sensitive about his legacy and public perception, and that attitude could very well propel Brooklyn to the NBA mountaintop next summer.