Cover Image for Brooklyn Nets Playoff Picture: Ben Simmons arrives at the Barclays Center with Seth Curry and Andre Drummond while James Harden departs, staring at a new-look Nets ahead of the All-Star break

Brooklyn Nets Playoff Picture: Ben Simmons arrives at the Barclays Center with Seth Curry and Andre Drummond while James Harden departs, staring at a new-look Nets ahead of the All-Star break

Arjun Julka
|Sun Feb 20 2022


The Brooklyn Nets cause a storm at the trade deadline, adding size and shooting to their roster, parting ways with a former MVP and scoring champion.

It’s the beginning of a new era in Brooklyn post the All-Star break. The Nets have had a roller-coaster season so far. After maintaining the top seed in the eastern conference, the team dropped to the 8th spot in a matter of days. Kevin Durant’s injury would see the Nets crumble from a dominant position.

The Brooklyn team had an 11-game losing streak, pointing several fingers at the front office and head coach Steve Nash. However, it was the James HardenBen Simmons trade that has changed the dynamics of the Nets roster.

The Nets find themselves in a tough spot ahead of the All-Star break. They currently rank 12th in offense and 19th in defense, with some pieces arrived from Philadelphia waiting to be put at proper places.

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Analyzing what’s next for the Nets as the road to the playoff begins, with the league entering the All-Star break. Breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the Nets.

The potential strengths of the Nets going into the playoffs.

The Brooklyn Nets won the Ben Simmons-James Harden trade.

As Durant described it, “Everyone got what they wanted.” The Nets seemed to have edged the Sixers in this trade, benefiting on both ends of the floor. A team that struggled on the defensive side of schemes has acquired an All-NBA Defensive First Team in Ben Simmons and All-Star big man in Andre Drummond.

Simmons can guard all positions, helping the Nets improve their defensive rating. Drummond has led the league in rebounding four times. Thus these additions can fuel the scoring duo of Durant and Irving to shoot the lights out. The acquisition of Seth Curry has filled in the void for Joe Harris, who continues to rehab from injury.

Cam Thomas is a potential star in the making.

The rookie can ball and showcased his clutch gene off-late, with the dagger against the Knicks at MSG. Thomas has stepped up his game despite the Nets being on a losing streak. In his last 10-games, the 2021 rookie has averaged 18.1 PPG on 47.9% shooting from the field.

The 20-year old adds depth to the Nets roster, and his ability to show up during clutch is noteworthy. Thomas could take notes from veteran LaMarcus Aldridge in the scoring department.

Kevin Durant is nearing his return from an MCL sprain.

The return of the nearly seven-foot sniper would mean scary hours for the league. The Nets were the top seed in the east before Durant went down in mid-January and have fallen with a thud ever since. The Nets superstar was leading the league in scoring until his injury.

The potential threats of the Nets going into the playoffs.

Kyrie Irving’s anti-vaccination controversy.

The New York mayor Eric Adams recently stated New York City’s contradicting COVID mandate was unfair but couldn’t reverse it as it would send mixed signals. Irving’s availability as a part-time player will be a limitation if the Nets reach the postseason. A magician with the ball, Irving is a highly efficient scorer. Unfortunately, his services are only limited to road games.

There is limited time to build team chemistry and figure out the rotations.

Injuries and COVID protocols have been a significant deterrent for the Nets this season. Steve Nash has done a relatively decent job in his second year as head coach. The Brooklyn team hasn’t had a consistent lineup from the very go. The former Big 3 played a mere sixteen- games together in one and a half seasons.

Kevin Durant’s status as the best player in the world is under scrutiny.

A baggage LeBron James has carried his entire career is now shared with the Slim Reaper. Despite winning back-to-back titles with the Warriors and Finals MVP, the Bay Area was always Stephen Curry’s house. Thus Durant signed with the Nets, hoping to cement a legacy.

The Warriors are currently one of the favorites to win the title despite not having KD. Thus if the Dubs win the chip this season, it would further lower Durant’s case as the best player. On the other hand, King James is refusing to slow down. The 37-year old Lakers superstar continues to be the sole engine of his team despite boasting multiple All-Stars like Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony.

What could we expect from the Nets post the All-Star break?

The Nets currently sit at the 8th seed with a 31-28 record. Though it might take a few games for the Nets to figure it out, they should be back to winning ways with Durant returning soon. The addition of Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond help ease the load for KD and Irving on both ends of the floor.

Harden’s exit gives the Nets have more spacing on the floor and distribution of the ball.

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Playoff Positioning.

It would be safe to say that the Nets will find themselves above the play-in tournament teams. However, being a top 3 seed is questionable considering the way the Bulls, Heat, and Bucks are playing. Nonetheless, if Irving decided to get the vaccine, the Nets could see itself as a top 3 seed.

 

 


About the author
Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

A 26-year-old from Mumbai. A huge Basketball fan who regularly consumes hours of basketball content, be it matches, debates, or analysis. Some of my other interests include CrossFit, watching documentaries, collecting sneakers, and trying out different types of cuisines.

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