Fact or Fiction: Brooklyn Nets

Fact or Fiction: Brooklyn Nets

by August 17, 2021 1 comment

The Brooklyn Nets formed arguably the most talented big three in NBA history last season. However, James Harden and Kyrie Irving weren’t able to stay healthy in the playoffs. Their injuries and Joe Harris‘ bad shooting performance left Kevin Durant tasked with carrying Brooklyn in the second round. He was inches away from sending them to the conference finals but he watched the Milwaukee Bucks win the title weeks later.

Since the Nets’ season concluded, Durant won gold in Tokyo. He also inked a four-year extension, keeping him in Brooklyn through the 2025-2026 season. In September, general manager Sean Marks brought back Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown before signing Patty Mills and drafting Cam Thomas in the draft before training camp.

Many statements about this year’s squad are being made, but we’ve got you covered with our Fact or Fiction series. It features the biggest claims being made about the Nets and offers you the answer with a decisive fact or fiction.

Make sure to check out all of our other Fact or Fiction articles.

The Nets are the Team to Beat

Whenever a team has Durant, Irving, and Harden on their team they’re going to, they will be the team to beat. When all three were healthy in the first round of last year’s playoffs, they steamrolled through Boston. Brooklyn combined to score 271 points in Games 2 and 4. Even without Harden in the first two games of the Bucks series, they were up 2-0 heading to Milwaukee.

Brown, like us, knows how talented Brooklyn was and is. “I think we all know what would’ve happened last year if we were healthy,” he said after re-signing with Brooklyn. If the Nets are healthy this year, they shouldn’t have a problem at least getting through the East.

Los Angeles Lakers fans could make the argument they’re more talented. They now have LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook leading the way. However, the Nets have a more complete team than Los Angeles with a bench featuring Brown, Griffin, Thomas, Mills, and Nic Claxton. The Bucks are the defending champs so they have our respect. But, they aren’t bringing back the same team. P.J. Tucker gave the Nets problems in the playoffs and he’s now in Miami.

Verdict: Fact, Brooklyn is the Title Favorite

Kevin Durant is the Best Player in the World

It seems like the best player in the world changes every week during the season. LeBron was the best in the world early last year before getting hurt. Then, Nikola Jokic was getting the attention because he was on his way to winning the MVP. After the second round of the playoffs, Durant was at the top of the world because he carried an injury-riddled team to a Game 7. Then once Giannis delivered a 50-point title-clinching performance, it was his turn to be deemed the best in the world.

Round and round we’ll go. That’s just how sports work. But going into this season, Durant deserves to be the best player in the NBA. Antetokounmpo is right on his tail because he showed he’s a true two-way player by making free throws when it matters most. However, Durant was the better player before last year’s postseason and he put together a tremendous postseason as well.

Not only did he average 40 minutes per game in the 2021 playoffs, including Games 5 and 7 where he played 48 and 53 minutes respectively, but he averaged 34.3 points per game with 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. That’s more points (29), rebounds (7.8), and blocks (1.2) than he had in 2018 when he won his second ring with the Golden State Warriors. Antetokounmpo averaged fewer points (30.2), the same amount of assists (4.4), and slightly fewer blocks (1.2) than Durant in the 2021 playoffs.

Let me be clear to Bucks fans. Durant isn’t way better than Antetokounmpo. You can see by the numbers that you could make an argument for Antetokoumpo. However, it’s important to point out that Durant, like Giannis, had a special playoff run, without his two best teammates and Harris not shooting well. James is in the conversation as well, but is coming off an injury-plagued season.

Verdict: Fact, let’s Appreciate his Greatness

It’s Championship or Bust

When the Nets have three of the best players in the world on their team, they can’t accept anything but a ring. If Irving, Durant, and Harden stay healthy (and that’s a big if) there’s no excuse for them to come up short. The Warriors in 2017 and 2018 had three stars in Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson. They were easily the team to beat and they came through. This is a similar scenario. Time will tell if they’re able to get Brooklyn its first NBA title.

Verdict: Fact, they’re too talented to accept anything else


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