Answering the Nets’ lingering questions
The Nets’ blockbuster transfer to get James Harden has surprised the NBA and made them the betting favorites to return out of the Japanese Convention. All people from scouts to Las Vegas oddsmakers anticipate them to face the Lakers within the NBA Finals.
However the transfer additionally left a bunch of questions that can must be answered, some quick time period and a few lengthy.
Q: Followers are having flashbacks of the ill-fated 2013 commerce for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett that set the franchise again. Why is that this completely different?
A: The draw back theoretically may very well be as unhealthy, actually. However the ceiling is way greater. Garnett and Pierce have been a mixed 72 years previous, and each have been far previous their primes. Harden, 31, is coming off three straight scoring titles. Kevin Durant continues to be simply 32 and Kyrie Irving is 28.
Apart from, that Nets crew was by no means going to be a contender. This one is now favored to win the East and three/1 to take the entire thing. They’re pushing their chips all-in. As Spencer Dinwiddie tweeted, “we’re within the endgame now.”
Q: What might the beginning lineup and rotation appear like now that the deal is finished?
A: That’s up within the air. We don’t know when Kyrie Irving is coming again, and that’s partly as much as the NBA. However as soon as the deal is finished and he decides to begin enjoying once more — and is cleared to take action — anticipate the Nets to line up with Irving and Harden within the backcourt, Kevin Durant at ahead and DeAndre Jordan at heart. Steve Nash should take a look at out whether or not to play Durant at small ahead alongside Jeff Inexperienced for protection and rebounding, or at energy ahead subsequent to Joe Harris for ground spacing.
Q: GM Sean Marks mentioned in November he wouldn’t mortgage the long run, however right here we’re. Why have been they prepared to make the deal now?
A: The necessity was better for each Brooklyn and Houston. Whereas Marks can say this had nothing to do with Irving’s private points, Harden offers the most costly insurance coverage coverage in NBA historical past towards Irving getting harm, going AWOL or being dealt. And after Harden’s pouting in Houston, the Rockets have been clearly extra motivated to maneuver on this week.
Q: Harden comes with a shaky defensive rep. Simply how unhealthy is he?
A: Unhealthy. Perhaps not fairly as unhealthy as his rep, however that’s a low bar. After his apathetic protection made him a straightforward goal for Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaqtin’ a Idiot,” Harden made some strides in that space solely to backslide this season. Granted, he’s off form and was making an attempt to drive a commerce, however his 117.0 Defensive Ranking and minus-1.0 Defensive Field plus-minus are career-worsts and laborious to disregard.
Q: Are the Nets achieved? Their bench is skinny, so are they going to experience with simply what they’ve?
A: Not even shut. They’ve three open roster spots and must fill them. They’ve the $5.7 Taxpayer Mid-Degree Exception, Dinwiddie as a possible expiring contract to dangle and sure a Disabled Participant Exception they’ll get within the wake of his torn ACL. That may be value $5.7 million, and may very well be utilized in a commerce. Count on them to look so as to add one other massive physique, and troll the buyout market.
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