How do the Brooklyn Nets move forward without LaMarcus Aldridge?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: LaMarcus Aldridge #21 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: LaMarcus Aldridge #21 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets continue to deal with adversity on the health front.

LaMarcus Aldridge shocked the NBA world on Thursday when he announced his retirement via Twitter due to concerns about his heart. Aldridge had a very decorated 15-year career, and was expected to be a key piece for the Nets as the postseason approached.

But now that he’s gone and there are a number of other injuries that are keeping Brooklyn from full strength … what’s next?

Aldridge started all five games he played for the team. He was effective, averaging 12.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 2.6 APG during that stretch. He effectively took DeAndre Jordan’s spot in the rotation, but that’s about to shift.

Moving forward, the rotation is going to go through some changes. The frontcourt rotation will consist of Jordan, Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Nic Claxton, and occasionally, Alize Johnson. If the last two games are indicative of anything, Jordan will slide back into the starting lineup.

In Aldridge’s absence, Jordan has looked rejuvenated over the last two games, which included a 12-point, 14-rebound effort in a loss to the 76ers.

The X-factor moving forward is going to be Claxton. He’s often times the best and most versatile big man they have. However, there are times he appears to be overwhelmed. In the April 10 matchup against the Lakers, Andre Drummond dominated a front line that consisted of Aldridge and Claxton. Drummond, a notorious Nets killer, had 20 points and 11 rebounds in only 22 minutes of action. Big bodies such as Drummond and Joel Embiid are not great matchups for Claxton at this point in his career.

Expect the Nets to go back to using more small ball lineups. Blake Griffin can play stretches as a five to help space the floor. Nets head coach Steve Nash should also be open to playing Kevin Durant as a stretch five with Green as the four. Durant has the IQ and length to make an impact as an untraditional center.

Overall, the Nets don’t have an answer for the best bigs in the game. Aldridge was a nice piece who could potentially defend those guys while also spacing the floor, but that’s no longer a luxury the team will have.

So it’s time to focus on Brooklyn’s biggest strength: their overwhelming offense. That’s how they’re going to win games, not by playing shutdown defense in the paint. Nash will now fully need to focus on offensive efficiency if the Nets want to make a championship run.