Nets fans have been on a roller coaster of emotions since the introduction of the superteam in 2021, consisting of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. They were yet to pass the Eastern Conference finals before disintegrating this past season, leaving too many unanswered questions.
The trade of Kyrie and Durant halfway through the season signified the end of the superteam. The New squad did manage to reach the playoffs but were swept in the first round. We shall look at what transpired since the beginning of the season and also analyze what the team lacked after trading the two stars.
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Why the Superstar Combination Failed
With James leaving earlier, fans still had hope with Durant and Kyrie on the team. They are undoubtedly top ten in anyone’s ranking, but their output never helped them progress to a solid playoff position.
So, why did the star combo fail? Here is everything you need to know.
The two All-Stars never Played Enough Games Together.
Kyrie and Durant played fewer games together since joining Brooklyn, and this season was the same. The two have been away for different reasons, with guard Kyrie facing multiple altercations. 2-time finals MVP, meanwhile, had an injury in times Kyrie was on the court.
Many, including NBA betting fans, argue that the Nets had a chance if the two former champs played consistently. True to that, the team’s winning percentage was better when they were both in the starting lineup.
Lack of Squad Depth
With multiple stars in a team, the squad might need more depth with less cap space to accommodate the right talent to support the two. The only notable name from the bench was Seth Curry, whose performance has decreased, while other starting players like Joe Harris need to catch up to expectations.
The Nets had begun the season poorly, despite the two stars showing up for different games. Therefore it’s no surprise that coach Steve Nash was fired in November 2022.
Many analysts like Shannon Sharpe argue there was a fallout between the key players and the head coach. Sharpe states that Durant immediately turned his back on Nash after saying he supported his coaching style. Therefore, the lack of stability in the technical bench increased the ongoing woes of the two players.
What the Nets Missed after the Mega-Trade
The departure of Kyrie to Dallas got them excellent players and future draft picks, including:
- Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets former star)
- Dorian Finney-Smith
- 2029 unprotected 1st-round pick
- Two future 2nd-round picks
On the other hand, Durant’s trade to the Knicks also allowed Brooklyn to acquire some raw talent with the like of:
- Mikal Bridges
- Cam Johnson
- 2023, 2025, 2027 1st round draft picks
The former Sun’s duo would prove vital as the season ended. Mikal Bridges became the primary scorer with Spencer Dinwiddie, helping the Nets seal a playoff spot and escaping the play-in tournament with a 6th position achievement. Being swept in the first round by the 76-sixers proved the team still has much to do, and here’s what they lacked.
Proper Team Bonding
Unlike a team put together in the off-season, a squad set in the mid-season can have a negative effect, as observed with the Nets. The starting lineup was especially new, with big man Claxton remaining the only starter since the start of the season.
This factor depicts itself with the early playoff exit, as the squad can win at least a few games against any opponent in a 7-game series.
Lack of Veteran Experience
Despite not regularly starting, a veteran star can go a long way in influencing a young core. With the absence of Durant, the leadership role in the Nets was wanting, with bench star Pat Mills being the oldest player at 34.
This factor, however, is fine if the team bonds appropriately in the off-season, and other older players like Royce O’Neal can come on board to lead the young Nets side. The team can consider bringing veteran free agents like Chris Paul or Mike Conley.
The Ben Simmons Factor
It was yet another disappointing season for Ben Simmons, failing to replicate his Philadelphia form. His shooting is still wanting, making him a weak point during the offense, and he is mainly targeted in fouls as a poor free throw scorer.
Simmons could have provided the needed defense by playing with Kyrie and Durant or helping the new signings. Instead, he’s kept Nets fans waiting for his rise in Brooklyn.
As a former defensive player of the year, All-star, and first-team All-NBA, he would have helped the Nets push past his former team in the playoffs.
Brooklyn’s season was dramatic, the blockbuster trades and Simmons missing hitting the headlines. The Nets can turn around the poor show next season if they look into some of the discussed factors. They need an all-around improvement to at least ensure they have a deep playoff run next year.