Without the presence of Kevin Durant, it is becoming a popular opinion that the Brooklyn Nets will only enjoy a limited amount of success next year. Is it fair to say this team’s depth is becoming underrated or overlooked?
Measuring the importance of roster depth in today’s NBA is tricky. On one hand, it can prove to be vital to the success of a team that isn’t necessarily top-heavy, but on the other, it loses significant value when the playoffs start and rotations tighten up. So with that being said, how does one gauge that the Brooklyn Nets’ depth is, in fact, underrated?
Well, let’s try to work this thing out.
Predictions vary on what levels of success certain organizations will or won’t have this upcoming season—it all depends on who you’re talking to and how they feel about the NBA’s hierarchy on that given the day.
Of the more polarizing teams in the league lies the Brooklyn Nets.
Certain analysts claim they’ll contend for a top seed in the east and others state that they will miss the playoffs altogether.
Those who look at their roster and think they’ll find limited amounts of success attribute their hypothetical misfortune to the lack of leadership qualities coming from their de-facto on-court leader, Kyrie Irving.
The horse has already been beaten half to death but for the sake of context, let’s briefly dive into the topic for the umpteenth time.
Yes, he ultimately failed in his relatively brief tenure in Boston. But does that mean his shortcomings in leading the locker room will translate over to Brooklyn, a place he refers to as “home”?
Or will he instead use this ever-growing narrative placed upon him as a “disruptor” in the locker room as motivation, entering next season with a chip on his shoulder and doing whatever it takes to ensure the most amount of success for the first team he had the luxury of choosing?
The latter seems more in the realm of possibility, but fans of his previous team and doubters will do everything in their power to keep the narrative going. And it won’t be like he won’t have help in the locker room. This team has plenty of experience down the depth chart, and he also won’t be alone in terms of production on the court.
If healthy, Caris LeVert appears primed to take that proverbial next step into semi-stardom, Spencer Dinwiddie is amongst the best bench players in the NBA, Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan are elite rim-protectors and roll men in pick and roll sets, and Taurean Prince and Joe Harris are both amongst the best catch and shoot perimeter threats in the NBA.
Then you have a quintessential pro in Garrett Temple, who also acts as a serviceable “3 and D” player, David Nwaba, who’s a fierce defender and plays with infectious passion and the likes of Dzanan Musa, Nicolas Claxton, and Theo Pinson, who could surprise many as significant contributors on this rotation next year.
Last year, the Nets finished second in the NBA in bench scoring behind the Los Angeles Clippers, and with the roster at hand for Atkinson and company, a repeat performance seems in order.
If Kyrie Irving is having an off night, there are plenty of contributors on this roster that can compensate for his shooting woes and get the Nets the victory. But again, this appears overlooked in the dynamic of this team.
Depth likely won’t win you an NBA championship in this era of basketball, but having a deep roster to complement your star talent will—ask the Toronto Raptors.