o/u 50.5 -UNDER
The Nets need to go out there and earn some brownie points before anyone projects them to win 50 games.
The return of Joe Harris, addition of Royce O’Neal, and integration of Ben Simmons all foreshadow improvements on the defense end of the floor. The lack of front court depth raises questions as to how they will anchor their defensive units. Will they be able to hold up defensively without having two non-shooters — Simmons and Nic Claxton — on the floor which ultimately nukes their offense.
Finding units to defend while Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, and Patty Mills are in your top eight puts a coach in a difficult spot even with Harris and O’Neal bolstering the wing defense. Claxton will have to get back to his rookie year habits of switching onto guards, otherwise their defense has some massive holes the improved wing defense will not be able to compensate for.
TJ Warren will hopefully add some bench depth by adding a scorer to that group. Warren will not help with the defensive questions, but he is a large part of the team’s blueprint to success this season.
In his 15th NBA season, Kevin Durant played 37.2 minutes per game. In the playoffs, Steve Nash resolved to rolling Durant out there for the entire game. After averaging 37 minutes in 55 regular season games, and playing 44 minutes in the playoffs, Durant was noticeably gassed and posted his third worst shooting playoff series of his illustrious career.
Warren has not played since the 2020 Orlando bubble and is not expected to be geared up to play until at least mid-November. He is a huge flier, but if he can get on the court and take any weight off of Durant’s shoulders, it will show dividends in March.
This team likely has the biggest questions to answer and is the most untrustable group in the league. The Brooklyn Nets have questions to answer and until they go out there and do it, there is no reason to bet American dollars, monopoly money or any other form of currency on them in the regular season. This group is talented and has a high enough upside that they know if they are healthy, and clicking at the right time, it won’t matter what seed they get – they’ll be a tough out in April.
The x-factor for this group is availability and mental fortitude. Last season, Durant played 55 games, Irving 29 games, Harris only 14 games, and Simmons zero games. IF****** those four are available for closer to 60-70 games, this group will make a run at 50 wins. Even if you’re rooting for it, it would be the nastiest way to burn your money to bet on Steve Nash and the boys.