The Brooklyn Nets are testing rough waters amid the absence of Kyrie Irving. While Kevin Durant continues to impress, James Harden has just arrived at the party. This mailbag discusses the ups and downs of the Brooklyn Nets in week one.
Welcome to The SportsRush Mailbag.
The following is a newly inducted segment to our website in which we discuss what’s worked and what’s not for a particular franchise in the NBA after every seven games played. As one can guess from the title of this feature, we are going to discuss the Brooklyn Nets.
Analyzing what’s clicked and not clicked so far with the Nets.
As regarded by several going into the current season, Kevin Durant shows us why he is the best player in the world. LaMarcus Aldridge’s return has been nothing but a plus for the team. James Harden is showing us why he’s been a regular in the MVP race yearly. The Beard seems to have found his rhythm back.
Without diving too much into detail, we shall discuss the three points that stood out so far.
‘I’m Kevin Durant. Y’all know who I am
It’s illegal to skip Kevin Durant when we talk about the Brooklyn Nets. The superstar is a prolific scorer with the handles of a guard. Though Durant has been embroiled in certain rule violations lately, there are no complaints with regards to his performance on the hardwood.
The two-time Finals MVP is averaging 27.7 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 5.3 APG on a 58.3% shooting from the field thus far. KD’s mid-range game continues to impress us. Despite the absence of Kyrie Irving and a rusty James Harden, Durant has managed his end of the job.
The return of LaMarcus Aldridge
Unfortunately, LaMarcus had to depart midway during the last season due to health concerns. The seven-time All-Star suffers from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a heart condition that can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat. However, his love for the game couldn’t keep him away for much longer as he would return to the Nets after being cleared medically.
Though coming off the bench, LaMarcus has been very efficient for the Nets. The 36-year old is averaging 12.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.2 BPG playing 20.2 MPG. The former Spurs player is an elite mid-range shooter.
Recently, LaMarcus reached 20,000 career points and celebrated this great milestone with his team. In what many believe, LaMarcus could be the third scoring option for the Nets. After Durant and Harden.
LaMarcus Aldridge retired last season because of an irregular heartbeat condition.
Tonight, he became the 48th player to reach 20K career points 🙏 pic.twitter.com/fPTuKTnorV
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 30, 2021
Is Patty Mills the Ray Allen of the Brooklyn Nets
With an absent Kyrie Irving and an out-of-form James Harden, Patty Mills has proved to be a blessing for Durant and co. In his debut as a Nets player, Mills was a perfect 7-for-7 from beyond the arc. The Aussie was an impressive 63.8% from the field.
Mills is one of the favorites to win the sixth man of the year award this year. Currently coming off the bench, the former NBA champion is shooting 44.3% from the field and 51.4% from the 3-point line.
In what many believe, Mills can be that to Durant what Ray Allen was to LeBron James.
What didn’t impress
The absence of Kyrie Irving
Irving’s anti-vaccination stand is proving to be costly for the Nets, especially in light of their recent performances. Though many felt the Nets are a contender even without Irving, the reality on the hardwood seems different.
Irving is box office and one of the best players to finish at the rim. The former Cavs player was part of the elite 50-40-90 club during the last season.
Hadn’t it been for his injury during the conference semi-finals against the Bucks, we would have a different narrative playing in the media today.
A rusty James Harden
In what it seems, Harden hasn’t recovered fully from his nagging hamstring injury. The Beard’s nagging injury, coupled with the new foul-baiting rules, has resulted in Harden struggling with his performances.
Though the three-time scoring put up good numbers in his last two outings, the Nets superstar is still averaging below 40% from the field and 3-point line.
The absence of a dominant center
The Nets are yet to figure their cast for the center position. The team has been juggling between Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. Unfortunately, age and declining athleticism seem to be a major reason for the lack of dominance exhibited by both Griffin and Aldridge.
Griffin was a freak of nature during his initial days in the league. However, injuries got the better of him.