Brooklyn Nets: Lineup changes may prove beneficial in postseason

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 25: Kevin Durant #7 high fives Joe Harris #12 as James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 25: Kevin Durant #7 high fives Joe Harris #12 as James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

When the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change,” he must have envisioned and anticipated the Brooklyn Nets’ 2020-21 season. Constant change accurately depicts the Nets’ frequent lineup changes and the revolving door of players we’ve seen go in and out of the rotation.

Three quarters through the season and the Nets have seen nearly thirty starting lineup changes. Whether players are sidelined for injuries, personal reasons, health, and safety protocols, ramping up or LaMarcus Aldridge’s untimely retirement for health concerns, roster changes have become the norm in Brooklyn.

For an organization with championship aspirations, the lack of lineup stability and skepticism of adequate chemistry creates a compelling yet daunting narrative. Brooklyn Nets and NBA fans alike wonder if the Eastern Conference’s most talented team (when healthy) has enough time to gel before the playoffs roll around.

If not, will the lack of chemistry negatively affect their playoff ambitions?

Will the Brooklyn Nets’ lineup changes affect their playoff fate?

The truth is, seeing a completely healthy Nets team play more than a few games consecutively before the conclusion of the regular season isn’t probable. In his pregame interview prior to the Nets taking on the 76ers this week, Steve Nash said, “We may not get any games with our whole roster.”

Typically, having a team play a considerable amount games together to gain familiarity and chemistry is one of the organization’s top priorities. But, in a shortened season that has been full of injuries and uncertainty, just making it to the playoffs with your main players is a win.

In an odd twist in a season that is an anomaly of sorts, Brooklyn’s frequent lineup changes may prove beneficial come postseason. Brooklyn’s 37-18 winning record gives credence to a team that, despite the circumstances, finds a way to be competitive.

Due to the Nets’ frequent lineup changes, they have been forced to find a myriad of ways to win and be successful. Whether it’s a high-scoring effort or a grind-it-out style which is usually catapulted by the second unit, Brooklyn has shown the ability to adjust.

They have developed a unique ability to shape-shift and put a competitive group on the floor tailored to the opponent they are facing. The nucleus of the Nets will always start and end with the “Big 3,” but they have intangible pieces that play a significant role in certain situations.

With teams that boast low-post threats like the Lakers and 76ers, DeAndre Jordan’s size and athletic ability makes him a key component at the center position in those matchups. Whenever Brooklyn is playing an up-tempo, switch everything, small-ball lineup, Nicolas Claxton and Bruce Brown’s center roles become magnified.

James Harden’s facilitating and scoring prowess coupled with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s superior scoring ability gives the Nets plenty of roster flexibility. Not to mention, when healthy and clicking on all cylinders, Brooklyn arguably has the deepest offensive bench in the NBA.

Where most teams have a primary starting lineup and a standard rotation pattern, Brooklyn can create an advantage by mismatching lineups based on whoever the opposing team puts on the floor.

The importance of chemistry cannot be understated, but the ability to be versatile and unpredictable also comes with its advantages. If Brooklyn as team can get on the same page regarding energy and effort, everything else will fall into place.