With the Sixers dealing Ben Simmons for James Harden in the biggest trade of the season, the Ben Simmons saga has moved on to the next question: Can the Brooklyn Nets win an NBA championship this season?
With Kevin Durant and James Harden, the Nets were near the top of the Eastern Conference standings for much of the season until the Nets started sliding and are now the 8th seed in the East.
The Nets regressing had a lot to do with Durant getting injured, but the Nets backslide also coincided with Kyrie “Half Man Half a Season” Irving returning part-time.
Now they add a multi-talented Simmons to the mix and on paper, it looks like it’ll work, but will it? And do they have enough time to gel to make it a deep run into the playoffs?
Anything is possible, but what is actually likely to happen?
Though their signing of Patty Mills looking like a genius move and adding another sharpshooter in Seth Curry coming on board, the Nets have a lot of long range firepower surrounding the new Big Three.
The problem is that with approximately 30+ games left in the season and no timetable as to when Simmons will re-join the Nets, odds at online bet makers like razor shark say probably not. That’s not to mention how well and how fast the new teammates will integrate, when Joe Harris will return, how long it will take Durant to get back to form, and how Kyrie’s part-time status will affect any chemistry. That’s just some of the items off the top of my head that are outstanding issues the Nets must resolve if they have any chance of getting past the second round, much less the Eastern Conference Finals.
The NBA Playoff field is competitive
The Nets lower chances at an NBA Title has as much to do with the Brooklyn Nets composition and performance as it does with the other contenders in the league. In the Eastern Conference alone, they would have to make their way through the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat who currently have the best record in the East. That’s not to mention Simmons’ former team the Philadelphia 76ers which now has James Harden coupled alongside with MVP candidate Joel Embiid.
If the Brooklyn Nets do happen to come together and defeat some combination of the Heat, Bucks, and Sixers, they will face well-oiled franchises with established chemistry coming out of the West – namely the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies. That’s not an easy route to the NBA championship especially with a team in flux.
Has it happened before?
Yes, the Toronto Raptors added Kawhi Leonard and won an NBA championship and more recently the Lakers added Anthony Davis and won the title in the bubble, but those two titles are more an anomaly than the rule. What history tells us is that when a team adds such a big piece to their roster that more often than not, it doesn’t immediately translate to an NBA trophy.
We do think that the addition of Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond will help Brooklyn immediately and in the long term, but there are too many variables and serious contenders for the Nets to be considered legitimate players. With injuries, COVID safety protocols, Kyrie’s volatile presence, the roster is simply lacking experience and time together. There’s just not a lot of time for Simmons, Durant and Irving to establish familiarity, hell Durant, Irving and Harden only played together for 16 games themselves. That alongside the established, proven and playoff-tested Bucks, Suns and Warriors, it’s unlikely that the Nets will be having a championship parade in Brooklyn.