A few years ago, this team wouldn’t have been a problem for the Cleveland Cavaliers. But since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Brooklyn Nets have been the East’s best team—and one of the best in the entire league. This is the best case scenario for the Cavs, who have a lot of young talent, and have been training on a new floor in the Cleveland Clinic Courts, with the goal of finding a way to stop the soaring Nets.
The NBA has been on a roll the past few years—crowning an MVP in LeBron James, continually shattering records with the Golden State Warriors, and completely overpowering the competition in the Eastern Conference. But this season, things have changed. The face of the league has changed. Not only have the Cleveland Cavaliers won the title, but they have done so without Kevin Durant.
The 2017 NBA Playoffs were everything fans have come to expect from the single-elimination tournament. The games were hard-fought, the players were big-time, and the drama was off the charts. But even though the Warriors and Cavs are the two best teams in the world, some teams have quietly emerged as the definitive favorites in the NBA’s 2017 postseason.. Read more about nba standings and let us know what you think.
Prior to the 2019 season, the Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. When they added James Harden at the start of last season, they instilled even more terror in the rest of the league. The Nets finished second in the Eastern Conference as a result of their actions.
In the first round of the playoffs, Brooklyn comfortably eliminated the Boston Celtics and advanced to the second round to face the Milwaukee Bucks. It is very simple to argue that Brooklyn should have defeated the eventual NBA Champions. Harden was hurt in the opening minute of the series’ first game. In the second quarter of game four, Irving’s season came to an end.
Durant turned the Nets’ season around, coming within a whisker of taking them to the Eastern Conference Finals. If Brooklyn’s big three had been at full strength in their first season, they could have won the NBA championship.
After snagging two excellent players in the 2021 NBA Draft and shopping from the discount bin during the early days of free agency, Brooklyn found a way to become an even larger threat in the East despite already having three superstars and three max contracts on their roster.
Cam Thomas of LSU and Day’Ron Sharpe of North Carolina will join Durant, Harden, and Irving.
Kevin Durant discusses the Nets’ draft strategy for 2021.
“I’m excited to learn from them and help them develop as much as possible, as well as to welcome them to Brooklyn – I can’t wait to play with them.” pic.twitter.com/U3NWhmVQPf
August 4, 2021 — Nets Videos (@SNYNets)
Brooklyn had two big problems during last year’s playoff run: a lack of offense outside of its players and a lack of inside size. In each of these areas, Thomas and Sharpe are of assistance.
Thomas’ ability to score in solitude will complement the Nets’ core nicely. He just receives buckets. Thomas averaged 23 points per game during his one season at LSU, according to The Ringer. In addition, he only had 1.4 assists per game. He’s a shooter, but at this stage in his development, that’s all Brooklyn requires of him.
Sharpe may be an even more important addition to the Nets. During last year’s playoff run, Blake Griffin played the most minutes as a “large,” averaging 26.5 minutes per game. Griffin stands at a height of 6-foot-9. Nic Claxton was the only player on the team that could be called a genuine center and got action in the playoffs. He got 10.8 miles per gallon on average.
Sharpe’s greatest qualities are his defense, rebounding, and effort, despite the fact that he didn’t put up big stat lines during his lone season in Chapel Hill. And at almost 7 feet tall and 260 pounds, Brooklyn doesn’t need much in the way of a large.
Kevin Durant and James Harden celebrate Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets. | Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
While Durant has been out doing his own thing, the Nets have also entered the NBA’s free agency frenzy, bringing in former San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills. Mills is a solid veteran who will offer experience, leadership, and shooting off the Nets’ bench. While he isn’t a big addition, he is a reliable veteran who will provide experience, leadership, and shooting off the bench.
According to CBSSports, Brooklyn is also close to finalizing a sign-and-trade deal with the Washington Wizards, which would send point guard Spencer Dinwiddie to the Wizards. The Nets, who are certain to be the most expensive club in the NBA next season due to the salary limit and luxury tax, have a few more moves to make, but a core group is starting to form.
Durant, Harden, and Irving may make Brooklyn’s rotation even more dynamic and frightening than it was last season.
Irving, Harden, Durant, Joe Harris, and Bruce Brown were the Nets’ starters who played the most minutes last season. Jeff Green was the most frequent member of the core four, but he’s since gone on to Denver. Landry Shamet also saw regular minutes in the company of Brooklyn’s studs, but he was sent out in the deal that brought Sharpe to the Nets.
Irving, Harden, Durant, Harris, and Griffin will all play a significant amount of minutes. Mills can fill in for any of the backcourt players, Claxton may get more action in the frontcourt, and the Nets still have Brown, a versatile player who used to play small-ball center. Thomas and Sharpe, who will play the wing and inside, respectively, are not part of the rotation. Both rookies can cover gaps in Brooklyn’s rotation, but they won’t be expected to play significant roles right away.
The Nets will always carry their three stars as far as they can. But, if (when) Durant, Harden, and Irving take a break, Brooklyn now has a more well-rounded roster and insurance plans. For the rest of the NBA, it should be a terrifying notion.
Unless otherwise stated, all stats are courtesy of NBA.com.
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Last season’s NBA Finals saw the Golden State Warriors go head-to-head against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They were two of the best teams in the league that season, and yet, the Cavs managed to take them to the limit. The Warriors had their way early on, outscoring the Cavs by 22 in the first and second quarters, and by 40 in the second half. When they took the lead it seemed the Cavs would have no answers. The Cavs managed to claw their way back into the game, but the Warriors still led by 16 at halftime. The Cavs scored 42 points in the second half. This year, the Cavs have changed their roster. Now, they have LeBron James, a playmaker who can bring them back into. Read more about kyrie irving stats 2021 and let us know what you think.
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