When the Brooklyn Nets signed both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving two years ago, it appeared as if they would lead a young core into the playoffs and be one of the top teams in the NBA.
But then they decided two stars were not enough, so they mortgaged their long-term future to add a third super stud in James Harden. If that was not enough, the Nets quickly snapped up both Blake Griffin and Lamarcus Aldridge when they were bought out of their contracts.
Now they truly are a superteam, and anything short of an NBA title will be a disappointment for this group. Of course, with the Nets, defense appears to be their kryptonite, as this team plays none.
Their modis operandi is to bludgeon teams to death with a constant array of offense, and try to outscore everyone. In the regular season, that’s a fine idea and will probably land them a Top 2 seed in the playoffs. In the post-season however, it will be their downfall.
There’s an old saying in the NFL, that can also apply to the NBA, Offense wins games, Defense wins championships. This year, the Nets will become the team that proves that adage. Sure, games in March against the Timberwolves, Magic or Pistons make the Nets look unstoppable.
It also makes it seem unfair that the Nets could sign any of the buyout players. After all, that’s what the small market teams are complaining about now. Heck, even a first round matchup with the Bulls or Hornets can make these Nets look like the 1996 Bulls, but that is not what this team is built for. They are built to win a title, and anything less would be a disappointment. Even with all the moves they’ve made I have my doubts when they face a team like the 76ers, Bucks, Celtics or even Heat in the East, and Jazz, Clippers and of course Lakers in the West.
We have seen this movie before and it has always ended the same way, in a title drought. The Suns of the 90’s were an offensive juggernaut who played little to no defense, as were the Rockets of the past few seasons, and those two teams combined have as many rings as I do.
Outscoring teams is great, but what happens when buckets aren’t as easy to get? Every basket the Nets score can be met with the same output of their opponent. With no defense, a guy like Joel Embid or the Greek Freak are not made to work on the offensive end, which gives them more energy to play D.
Look, you’re never going to stop Embid, but if you make him work, it sure as hell can slow him down on the other end of the floor. The Lakers would appear to be the team the Nets are gunning for, and ironically, it was the Purple and Gold who were able to land the one buyout candidate that the Nets could have used, Andre Drummond.
The addition of Drummond in L.A. means, that Anthony Davis, when he returns, does not have to play with his back to the basket, or worry about guarding the other teams big. Drummond frees Davis up to float a little bit, and in turn allows Lebron to focus on wing players and ball handlers.
So, while the Nets are adding more and more scoring punch, it is NOT what this team needed. After all, there is only one basketball, only one player at a time who can put the shot up.
Without a player who is a great defender or rebounder, the Nets better be damn sure to shoot near 80% every game. As I said earlier, being able to score is wonderful, but if the other team can match you point for point because you put up little resistance on the defensive end, you HAVE to hit all your shots.
One more point that needs to be made, the addition of Aldridge means that when the game is on the line in the end, the lineup will more than likely feature Irving, Harden, Durant, Griffin and Aldridge.
Which means their only decent defensive player, Deandre Jordan has to sit. Now, the fact that he is a liability at the free throw line, makes it even less likely he would be on the court late in the game, but at least he can body the aforementioned Embiid, Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jokic or AD.
So yes, this Nets team is a regular season force to be reckoned with, but come playoff time, when the other top seeds flash this team’s kryptonite at them, it will only be a matter of team before this “superteam”, this NBA version of the Avengers if you will, will crumple and fold.
So, all of this will be for naught. With the worst part being, they have mortgaged their future just to be the the modern-day East Coast version of the Suns. Notice how the two guys running this team are Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni?
Just a little food for thought, there.