The future of the Brooklyn Nets is incredibly appealing; however, there are still those who believe that won’t translate to immediate success. They’ve been underdogs thus far, will they keep that trademark entering next season?
The Brooklyn Nets are emerging as one of the more polarizing organizations in the NBA. Not because some view them to have shoddy management or a dysfunctional roster, no, instead the basketball universe is trying to pinpoint just how much success this roster will have in the 2019/20 season with the major two parties in the debate being on very different ends of the spectrum.
There are those with optimistic standpoints and then there are also those who utterly oppose such a sanguine stance.
The mainstream media isn’t helping the case of the optimistic, as plenty of platforms have reached the conclusion that they won’t fare much better than their breakout campaign a season ago. Is it now becoming fair to say that this roster—much like last year and probably how they like it—is being slept on?
Before we dive into that, it’s no real secret at this point: we’re in the dark days of August for basketball fans. NBA Twitter is debating which mainstream fast-food company makes the best chicken sandwiches and if, in fact, doubling in an open gym is warranted or not. We’ve gone too long without NBA action and it’s shown.
So when ESPN released their playoff predictions, Twitter was given something to talk about.
It’s understandable that there are those who reject the idea of Brooklyn snatching a top seed without the services of Kevin Durant; however, it becomes harder to understand how seven teams in the Eastern Conference will finish with a better record than the Nets.
What is quickly becoming an underrated aspect of this rotation is its depth.
Many naysayers look solely upon Kyrie Irving as the motor of this roster, claiming they’ll go as far as he takes them and using past history to favor their argument to state that they’ll barely get off the ground. Though it is true they’ll require a lot from Irving, there are also other factors that are seemingly being brushed under the rug.
For Brooklyn to compete against the juggernauts of their conference, Kyrie Irving has to play at an All-NBA level in which he’s capable of playing at; however, he’s going to have secondary options and a deep roster to help out during rough shooting nights.
Caris LeVert might’ve already had a breakout campaign had it not been for a horrendous injury in the early-going of last season. He struggled to get back in rhythm when he returned and lacked the same aggression he had before the injury—which is completely normal—but that changed during the latter stretch of the year.
As evident by his stats in the opening round of this year’s playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers, who took the NBA Champion Toronto Raptors to the brink of elimination.
It’s unfair to ask of such elite production from the 24-year-old for the duration of an 82-game season (TS% of 61.2%), but when healthy, he’s impressed and appears well on his way to at minimal semi-stardom this upcoming season. With Durant out, Atkinson will likely call upon LeVert as the second option in this offense and with his improved playmaking abilities and scoring attributes, he could thrive in such a role.
Then there’s Spencer Dinwiddie, who will likely be in contention for a Sixth Man of the Year award when the season concludes. Not just that, Dinwiddie has proven in the past he can step up when asked upon and that will be crucial given Kyrie Irving’s injury history.
Jarrett Allen enters year three of his young NBA career and has already established himself as an elite roll man in pick and roll sets—which this team runs plenty of—and is emerging as a reliable defensive anchor manning the paint. His physicality, or lack thereof, has been the topic of many debates between Nets fans but they have a security blanket in DeAndre Jordan, who can fend off the more physical frontcourt players the league has to offer.
Joe Harris‘ versatility is one of the NBA’s better-kept secrets, he’s an efficient scorer who led the league in three-point percentage and has finished in the Top 7 in true shooting percentage in back-to-back seasons. Taurean Prince has all the tools to be an elite “3 and D” wing, but consistency on the defensive end has remained a concern, but if Atkinson can get the best out of him he’ll more than likely be a significant contributor on this roster.
There’s talent everywhere you look on this rotation, they have savvy veterans like Wilson Chandler, Garrett Temple, and David Nwaba combined with youthful talents like Rodions Kurucs, Dzanan Musa, Nicolas Claxton, and Theo Pinson to round up the rotation.
They’re a well-balanced and well-coached team, thinking that they’re going to struggle to hover around the .500 mark and maybe even see a decrease from 42 wins a season ago seems illogical—but the narrative seems to be picking up a head of steam.
This is a team that has made upgrades every which way you look and does have some continuity with returning faces combined with a culture that appeals to their players. The eighth seed in the east historically wins between 38-42 games, while the third seed usually hovers right around the 50-win plateau.
With the aforementioned upgrades is it not more reasonable to think an upward of 50 wins is more feasible than barely hanging around the .500 mark? The Nets thrived last year as an underdog, a team no one outside of Brooklyn saw coming, they could very well exceed expectations once more in the 2019/20 season.