The Brooklyn Nets are in a peculiar spot with time running out on the 2019/20 NBA season and a summer of uncertainties looming.
It’s no real secret, the Brooklyn Nets have been inconsistent and for the most, identity-less throughout the season.
However, there is a flipside to that coin. This is a team that has been without their two stars for the vast majority of the season (Kyrie Irving played 20 games). And without their best two players, to be less subtle, around half of the team’s budget has been spent on the sidelines. The point is: it’s important to remember that the Nets are playing with an incomplete roster, so any ideas as to what the team is missing in the roster are going to be inherently flawed.
Games are going to look very different next year even with no changes. That’s just a simple fact.
Kevin Durant and Irving’s effect on the floor is going to open up so much more for their current teammates that aren’t enjoying that luxury now. Thus, we don’t know how our core is going to fare when they get in those situations.
Right now, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert are shuffling with who’s going to handle the rock in the final clutch moments of the games and who is going to defer. Next year, it’s going to be a no-brainer who handles the rock in the clutch. It’s going to be Durant or Irving.
The Nets’ priority is to make sure they don’t make any decisions that will prove to haunt them later. That means, no trading for Bradley Beal, no trading for Aaron Gordon, and no shaking up the roster core just yet. The time for big game hunting— if at any point —is going to be next year around the trade deadline. Because management by that point will know what the team is, and what the team lacks.
The remainder of this season shouldn’t be used to tank, but I don’t think still going ‘all-in’ on a playoff run is the right answer.
The best way the Nets should utilize their time is perfecting offensive/defensive sets to get ready for next year. This is now the coaching staff’s season. Championships are won by teams who have depth, and an identity.
Look at the last decade as an example. From 2010 to now, teams with an identity and depth have won more often than super teams. There were two true super teams from 2010-2020, the Miami Heat, and Golden State Warriors, combining for four championships altogether. Since there is no super team this year, that means six championships will have been won by well-coached, and well-balanced teams. That’s the formula the Nets should be going for.
Also, let’s not forget that life is going to exist past Durant and Irving. This might be the team’s time to go for a championship but there is never a guarantee no matter what a team does that they will win. So making rash decisions with incomplete information runs the risk of it blowing up later. Ask a Cavaliers fan, or a Heat fan, or a Warriors fan this season.
The Nets should model their blueprint around what the Toronto Raptors were able to achieve. An organization that gave itself a prime opportunity to win a championship, and then after they won and their star left, they remained a really good team. That’s the real end game. The Nets establishing themselves as a formidable organization for years to come, as well as being the team New Yorkers deserve.