After the Brooklyn Nets traded for James Harden, they cemented themselves as the most talented team in the East. Adding Harden to a team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving seems like an NBA 2K cheat code.
Things got off to a promising start when Harden posted a 30-point triple-double in his debut, finishing the game with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 14 assists. KD chipped in 42 points to beat the Magic, 122-115. The duo then followed it up by combining for 64 points in a 125-123 win over the Bucks.
The biggest elephant in the room is not Kyrie. Despite what transpired with Kyrie off the court, from missing games to partying without a mask, his talent speaks for itself on the court. The Nets are more talented with Kyrie than they are without Kyrie.
The Nets’ problem is not Kyrie. The problem lies down low. They have serious issues in the frontcourt.
The Nets became a better team with the addition of James Harden. However, it came at a price. It’s similar to Thanos’s situation in the soul realm after snapping his fingers to wipe out half the population.
For the Nets, Gamora is Jarrett Allen, the talented center the Nets traded to the Cavs in the Harden deal. Allen is a true throwback center. Allen is a great rebounder (10.5 per game), a true rim-protector (seventh in the NBA with 1.8 blocks per game), and a stout defender. He was the perfect complement to Durant and Kyrie because he wasn’t going to take away any of their shots. Plus, he can clean up and score at the rim.
It’s funny how things fall into place as Allen’s first game as a Cav came against his former team. Allen had 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks in a 147-135 2OT win over the Nets.
The Nets may not be able to stop a nosebleed with their current roster. Deandre Jordan, who must start now with Allen gone, is a shell of his Lob City self. Jordan is the only true center on the roster. The backup center, Nicolas Claxton (in my best Snoop Dogg voice, “Who?“), is hurt. They desperately need more big men.
After every single move the Nets make, they need to ask themselves this question. Can this team beat the Lakers? Right now, the answer is no. The Nets Big Three will put up points, but who is going to guard Anthony Davis? If Deandre Jordan and Nicolas Claxton guard Davis in a series, AD is putting up 40 and 20 every night.
The Nets are trying to add frontcourt depth. They recently signed Norvel Pelle to a deal. Once again, it still doesn’t answer the question as to who stops Anthony Davis. The Nets will be buyers at the trade deadline and buy out the market. Potential names of interest could be Bismack Biyombo, Ed Davis, or PJ Tucker.
A small ball five of KD, Kyrie, Harden, Joe Harris, and Jeff Green can win games. Heck, it can even win the East. However, it’s not beating the Lakers in a 7-game series.
The Nets need to address their front court before it becomes a big problem in the playoffs.
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