Durant’s recommitment to the team has single-handedly resurrected its championship hopes.
General manager Sean Marks has assembled quite a roster around him, and although it has question marks, it also has the potential of being a dominant team that wins the NBA championship.
In fact, this looks to be the best roster the Nets have had since Durant first suited up for them.
Kyrie Irving Is Still A Remarkable Player
The construction of this Brooklyn team started three years ago when Durant joined it along with Kyrie Irving.
Irving had been a borderline superstar for the past few years, and he had helped lead LeBron James to the 2016 championship as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The North Jersey native averaged 27.4 points per game, which was tied for his highest scoring average ever, and his 41.8 percent accuracy from 3-point range was a new career high.
At age 30, he is right in the middle of his prime, and he is not just one of the most skilled players in the game but also one of the most skilled players ever.
In fact, Phil Handy, who was an assistant coach on that 2016 Cavs team, thinks Irving is the most skilled player ever.
“He’s the most skilled player to ever put on basketball shoes”
– Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy on Kyrie Irving 😳 pic.twitter.com/7kYivjBGjP
— 🤴🏾⁶ (@JP3Visualz) August 17, 2022
Ben Simmons Is The Nets’ Wild Card
One is never quite sure what they will get from Ben Simmons, especially ever since he demanded a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers a year ago just because head coach Doc Rivers said he wasn’t sure if the 6-foot-11 man could be the starting point guard on a championship team.
Simmons has been accused by many of being incredibly mentally weak even before his trade demand, especially because he still refuses to take any shots outside of the paint even five years into his pro career.
But other than that, he has the ability to be an amazing utility player for the Nets because of his ability to push the pace, hit the open man and rebound at a high level.
In addition to all that, Simmons is one of the league’s best defensive players, and they desperately have needed someone like that because of their deficiencies on that end of the floor.
Easy to forget how elite Ben Simmons’ defense is. Unnatural perimeter mobility and ball screen navigation at 6’10 240. 99th percentile matchup difficulty, 96th defensive versatility. Also a freight train in transition/perfect fit next to elite scorers.
What’s his outlook in BRK? pic.twitter.com/nOY2s2j7z2
— NBA University (@NBA_University) August 24, 2022
If he has his head on straight, he can raise the ceiling of this Brooklyn team.
The Nets Have Many Capable Role Players
In addition to guard Patty Mills, who is a spark plug off the bench, 3-point snipers Seth Curry and Joe Harris, and center Nic Claxton, Brooklyn has added a couple of new valuable complementary players.
Royce O’Neal, a 6-foot-4 wing, is regarded as a strong 3-and-D player, and he made 38.9 percent of his shots from downtown last season.
Forward T.J. Warren is making his way back from a stress fracture in his foot he suffered in December 2020, but if he regains his old form, he will be a boon for the Nets.
Warren is a good 3-point shooter and defender who averaged 19.8 points per game during the 2019-20 season, his last healthy one.
The one thing this Nets team seems to lack is another serviceable big man with legitimate height to play the 5 position, but other than that, they are stacked.
If they figure out how to be a consistently solid defensive team, they could bring the New York City area’s first NBA title since 1973 when the New York Knicks last won it.