The Brooklyn Nets are currently the number one team in the East, with a record of 19-8.
Now more than ever, their chances of making it deep into the playoffs and even the NBA Finals are high.
But the Nets have one major hurdle they will need to overcome if they wish to go all the way: burnout.
Because of the way the team is playing and the guys they are relying on, player burnout could become a very serious challenge in the months ahead – and the Nets need to address it now.
The KD & Harden Show
Kevin Durant scores the most points for the Nets, with an average of 29.4 a game.
James Harden puts up the second-most, with 20.8 points a game.
After that, the drop-off in point output is drastic, proving that Durant and Harden are the biggest and most consequential players for the team’s offense.
This is great news for the Nets because Durant and Harden are two of the best players in the NBA but it’s also bad news because if these guys get winded and run out of gas, the squad is going to suffer tremendously.
Both players love to be on the court but sometimes they should be benched – for the good of the team.
“When it’s go time, you got to put your big dogs out there to go win the game.”
James Harden and Kevin Durant on wanting to stay in the game in their comeback victory vs. the Mavs. 😤
— theScore (@theScore) December 8, 2021
The chances of either Durant or Harden – or both of them – burning out is only growing as they both put in an average of 36 minutes a game.
Should the two most crucial performers on the team be really putting in that much time or is this lack of rest just asking for trouble?
You can’t blame head coach Steve Nash for using KD and Harden so much since they are doing fantastic work for the team but he needs to rely on other members of the roster or else Durant and Harden will have no gas in the tank by the time the postseason rolls around.
Injuries Could Doom Them
One of the biggest things any NBA team has to contend with isn’t tricky contracts or crafty opponents, but injuries.
The Nets know all too well about injuries, seeing as how last season ended with both Kyrie Irving and Harden sidelined because of damage done to their bodies.
Injuries were the Nets’ undoing 📉
– Irving: foot injury during game 4 in ECSF, where Nets were up 2-1 🤯
– Harden: played through a hamstring injury (played only 9/12 games)
The Nets fell to the Bucks in 7 despite a great series from KD. The Bucks later become NBA champions. pic.twitter.com/s5DFVBh96Z
— frosty the scoreboard ⛄️ (15 – 13) (@scoreboard_hq) August 19, 2021
The more someone plays, the more chances they have of getting hurt or tiring their body out to the point of injury.
So while burnout is real, injuries because of burnout are also very real and should be a cause of concern for the Nets.
If the Nets are trying to make the Finals this year, they will have to do whatever they can to make sure that a season-ending mishap doesn’t occur.
There are some wonderful players on Brooklyn’s bench and now is the time for Nash to come to them.
He should be strengthening and calling upon his bench now instead of a few months ahead when it matters even more.
Preventing burnout and limiting the minutes of Durant and Harden should be seen as a smart investment for the future of the team.
If these guys crash and burn, they’re taking all of the Nets with them.