Built to win, but..

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - April 21, 2021 - 12:00am

It’s indisputable that the most stacked team today in the NBA is the Brooklyn Nets.  Seven players in their lineup have a combined 42 All-Star Game appearances, unmatched by any other team in the league.   It cannot be argued that if their stars align, the best the opposing team can do is keep the losing margin to the barest minimum.

Currently, the Nets (38-19) rank second to the Philadelphia 76ers (39-17) in the Eastern Conference standings.  Overall, they’re fifth in the league behind the Utah Jazz (42-15), the Phoenix Suns (40-16) and the LA Clippers (40-19).   The Denver Nuggets (36-20), the Milwaukee Bucks (35-21) and the LA Lakers (35-22) complete the NBA’s top eight.

Brooklyn has the explosive scoring trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.  The midseason addition of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge was an overkill.   They also have two of the league’s best catch-and-shoot gunners from long range – Joe Harris and Landry Shamet.  Give either one of them enough space and it’s boom!

But no matter how well-structured things may be, fate can play a cruel joke.  Aldridge, who had a decent 5-game average of 12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks for the Nets unexpectedly retired from the game due to an irregular heartbeat.  Griffin, meanwhile, in 11 games with his new team, is on a career-low 7.8 points.

The big three of KG, Kyrie and Harden have only played on court together for less than ten games.  They needed to play longer together to develop their chemistry for a stronger playoff push.

But Harden has a hamstring injury and could miss a few more games.  KD is getting to be ‘suki’ with leg injuries as he’s out again with a thigh contusion, the same leg which forced him to sit 23 straight games. 

Granting that the big three get healthy in time and do play together in the playoffs, it will be a long, hard grind for the other teams.   But Harden has that weird habit of missing shots during the post season, KD is too sensitive to criticisms and we just don’t know when Kyries decides to skip games “for personal reasons”.

The Brooklyn Nets are built to win, but they have serious issues.

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