The Brooklyn Nets were engulfed in a dark cloud of adversity when the NBA season started, between the exit of head coach Steve Nash, the controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving promoting an anti-semitic movie on Twitter, and Ben Simmons‘ ongoing problems.
But they have quietly gone on a surge over the last few weeks, as they’ve won eight of their last nine games and 15 of 22 since Jacque Vaughn took over as head coach.
Still, Fox Sports 1 personality Shannon Sharpe isn’t buying their improved play of late, as he thinks they’re not contenders, but pretenders.
.@ShannonSharpe calls the Nets ‘pretenders’ despite winning 8 out of their last 9 games:
“They’re beating up on weak teams. They have no chance of beating the Bucks or Celtics.” pic.twitter.com/iVLJzU9fue
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) December 14, 2022
Sharpe’s main argument is the fact that Brooklyn hasn’t beaten any good or great teams during this surge.
The Nets Are Good, But Not Great
Any team with Irving and Kevin Durant on it will, at the very least, be in the play-in tournament when it is all said and done.
On paper, the Nets have plenty of potential, as Simmons can be a mighty Swiss Army knife when he is emotionally right, and they have potent 3-point shooters such as Joe Harris, Seth Curry, Royce O’Neale and Patty Mills.
But perhaps they’re a piece or two short of being contenders, not to mention perhaps a head coach with cachet and the right philosophies who could act as a synergistic agent.
Brooklyn is still lacking defensively, and ultimately, defense has been its biggest weakness since Irving and Durant arrived three years ago.
The team is having lots of trouble defending the 3-point shot, and ranks just 24th in defensive rebound percentage.
In addition, the Nets have a lack of legitimate, productive big men.
Unless something big happens, look for them to suffer another disappointing playoff defeat sometime in May.