Season Preview: Eastern Conference Challengers- Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets had a big season last year as their young guns shone and got them into the playoffs for the first time since 2015 and while they were eliminated in the first round by the 76ers, it was an important achievement for Nets and one that will stand to them in the future.
Since then their have been huge changes in Brooklyn, a huge free agency has seen them sign Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan to put themselves in a terrific position to finish in the top four of the conference.
Can Kyrie lead the offence alone?
Unfortunately Kevin Durant is likely to miss the entire 2019/2020 season due to an achilles tendon injury, so the pressure will be on Kyrie to perform night in night out, something a player of his quality should have no trouble doing. Irving is one of the most exciting players in the league and with the amount shooting opportunities and ball control he will have without Durant on the court, I think the point guard could be an outside shout for league MVP. He has the talent and scoring ability to lead any team, especially in the East and there should be no excuses from the Nets even without Durant.
Young guns to shine again:
Last season's success was largely down to the Nets young and inexperienced players coming of age and the star signings made in the off-season have set up the young guns to shine again. D'Angelo Russell had a break through year in 18/19 and led the offence and while it would have been great to see him paired with Kyrie, they probably would have been too similar to co-exist and that would have led to trouble in the locker room. They still have the likes of Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dimwiddie and Caris LeVert who will all be looking to kick on again after last seasons success.
Allen an ideal understudy to Jordan:
DeAndre Jordan will likely be the regular starter at the center position but Jarrett will provide quality minutes off the bench and will be able to learn alot from Jordan. Allen was impressive on both ends of the court last season but at 21 still has alot to learn, DeAndre Jordan is a former all-star with 12 seasons in the NBA, so it seems like a match made in heaven for the Brooklyn Nets and by the time Jordan is moved on Allen will be ready to take over the starting mantel.
Will the Nets regret losing D'LO:
D'Angelo Russell had a breakthrough season in 2019/20, making his first all-star appearance and leading the Nets to a sixth place finish in the East. The Nets sent Russell to Golden State in a sign and trade package for Kevin Durant knowing they had Kyrie Irving coming in from Boston. Whether the Nets will live to regret that decision remains to be seen but if D'lo continues to develop in a similar vain to last season and the Kyrie/Durant super team fails to deliver a championship they may just live to regret their decision to trade.
There will be no Kevin Durant this season but the Nets are still in a great position to improve on their record from last season. They will need Kyrie on top form to achieve this but the with last season behind him I believe Uncle Drew will have an MVP worthy season.
Season Prediction: 48-34, 4th Place in the East
The Nets get their season underway against the Timberwolves on Thursday morning with their first Sky Live game coming on November 1st @11:00 against the Houston Rockets