The Brooklyn Nets‘ 2020-21 season was widely deemed as a failure because they failed to bring home a championship.
However, that assessment was pretty harsh considering the injuries they were dealing with to their superstars. Kyrie Irving missed the final few games against Milwaukee with a high-ankle sprain and James Harden was clearly compromised while playing through a Grade-2 hamstring strain.
Speaking of Harden, when you consider he was mostly a decoy vs the Bucks, surely some fans were left thinking about what could’ve been if the Nets hadn’t unloaded almost all of their young assets to acquire him.
After all, Caris LaVert and Jarrett Allen would have given Kevin Durant some much-needed assistance against Milwaukee’s star trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
Allen, it seems, recognizes the impact he would’ve had in that series. During a recent interview, the star center dropped a massive truth bomb about the Nets’ playoff run that is guaranteed to sting the fan base.
Jarrett Allen’s comments on the Nets’ playoff run really hurt.
In no way are we implying that the Nets shouldn’t have traded for Harden. It’s just fun to think about what could’ve happened if GM Sean Marks hadn’t gone for the jugular and kept the team’s young core intact a little longer.
When it comes to Allen, his 7-foot-6 (!) wingspan would’ve really helped the Nets establish a semblance of interior defense against Antetokounmpo, who averaged 31.9 points and 12.9 rebounds on 57.4% shooting in the series.
Getting beyond Giannis, Allen’s presence in the paint would’ve given the likes of Middleton and Holiday second thoughts about driving. We know the Bucks like to spread the floor with Brook Lopez hanging out behind the 3-point line, but do we really think that would’ve rendered Allen useless?
We’re talking about one of the best rim defenders in the NBA. He also cleans up on the boards, an assignment the Nets struggled with in that series.
We know hindsight is 20/20, but there’s just no denying that the Nets likely (not definitely) would’ve defeated the Bucks had Allen not been traded. Of course, you can also say that Brooklyn wouldn’t have gotten where they were without Harden, who carried the team on his back in the regular season while Durant and Irving were sidelined. There’s no disputing that.
However, given that Durant pushed Milwaukee to the absolute brink — he was literally a smaller shoe size away from drilling the game-winning triple in Game 7 — you have to think that Allen’s presence in the paint would’ve given KD that extra boost to get over the hump.