Brooklyn Nets: 3 most surprising players after first chunk of games

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 20: Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 20: Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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The Brooklyn Nets could’ve fallen apart after the James Harden trade, as teams with that many ball-dominant players and poor defensive schemes could easily start to crumble out of the 2020-21 championship picture.

Instead, their West Coast road trip proved how lethal the Nets can be, even when they’re not at full strength.

With Kevin Durant nursing an injury, the Nets won all five games, taking down contenders like the Suns, Lakers, and Clippers while they were at it. Kyrie Irving and James Harden proved that they can lead the Nets to victories and lock down on defense against elite teams when they need a stop.

The Nets are currently a half-game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Of course, the Nets wouldn’t be here with just these three playing well. They’ve had some role players contribute in ways that very few expected they would when they rolled out their first post-trade lineup.

These are the 3 most surprising Brooklyn Nets in 2020-21

Jeff Green, Brooklyn Nets
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 31: Jeff Green #8 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

No. 3: Jeff Green

Green, who is a comparative greybeard at 34 years old and a draft classmate of Durant, Green joined the Nets after a fairly successful stint last year with the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. Green figured to provide a veteran presence off the bench, but his fit on the roster seems a bit unusual.

Green has since assumed the role of a small-ball center, as some inconsistent play from a traditional center in DeAndre Jordan forced Steve Nash’s hand. Green has not only survived in this role, but he’s thrived.

Green is giving the Nets some size

Green hasn’t missed a game for the Nets this season. He’s putting up averaged of 9.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, all the while shooting 50% from the floor and 42% from 3-point range. Green’s ability to run the floor and rise up from deep has made the Nets the league’s premier up-tempo offense.

Green could’ve slunk off into retirement or accepted a role as a pseudo-coach that rarely sees the floor. Instead, he thought linking back up with Durant was the right move. Not only is Green’s shooting touch a positive asset on this Nets team, but his size and rebounding have quickly made him an indispensable member of the rotation.