Like most superteams, the Brooklyn Nets will always have skeptics.
During their dynastic run, the Golden State Warriors are probably the lone exception in that regard over the last several seasons.
For the Nets, a win on the road against a vastly improved Bulls team on the second night of a back-to-back would’ve gone a long way towards silencing their critics. Alas, they lost to the tune of a 118-95 beatdown.
Yes, Brooklyn was coming off a convincing win over a scrappy Raptors team that’s probably better than their 6-5 record, but their loss to the Bulls just confirmed a disturbing trend we’ve seen from Steve Nash’s group.
Outside of a five-point win over Philadelphia, a team eternally without Ben Simmons, the Nets don’t really have any impressive victories on their resume.
The Nets haven’t proven they can beat an elite team this season.
Think about it. The Nets’ seven wins have come over Philadelphia, Washington (which, though improved, doesn’t have much star-power), a Pacers team that’s 4-7 and finished ninth in the conference last season, the lowly Pistons (twice), a middling Hawks side that’s struggled out of the gates, and the Raptors, a team whose most impactful player thus far is a rookie.
When Brooklyn has faced squads with a similar level of talent, they’ve faltered. They were out-classed by Milwaukee to open the season and blitzed by a young and energetic Hornets side, though that’s probably the lone outlier in this conversation.
Beyond that, the Nets came up short versus Miami, which might be the team to beat in the East this season, as well as Chicago, which added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso to an already-talented roster.
See the problem? We know it’s early in the season, and we’re obviously not hitting the panic button, but this is definitely something to monitor as the weeks go by.
If the Nets aren’t going to have Kyrie Irving for the foreseeable future (maybe the whole year), then Kevin Durant needs James Harden to rediscover his MVP form in order for them to win these barn-burners against the new-look Eastern Conference, let alone the handful of other heavyweights out west.
On paper, Brooklyn should have enough star-power to beat the likes of Milwaukee, Miami and Chicago. However, the first three weeks of the season have proven it’s not going to be nearly as easy as it was last year.
Let’s hope Nash and Co. can find a solution, because this is a little alarming.