Predicted finish: 5th in the East (3rd in the Atlantic, 8th in the power rankings)
Last seasons conference finish: 7th
No team comes in with a wider variance in opinion on them than the Brooklyn Nets. The reason for this is largely due to the health and form concerns associated with their two stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Other reasons for concern are the team chemistry with the Jared Allen, De’Andre Jordan problem, the Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris Levert fit and, the overall wondering on how the locker room will be after essentially everyone outside of Durant, Irving and Jordan heard their name in trade talks this offseason. At its best, this may be the best roster in basketball. At its worst though, this is two aging stars coming off major injury with huge chemistry problems and a rookie head coach. This team is the definition of boom or bust.
The big question for the franchise: Can Durant and Kyrie return to form and stay healthy?
No matter how many team chemistry concerns there may be, all of them become mute if Irving and Durant can still be Irving and Durant. If they can, this team is going to be good, if not, well they probably won’t be. I hate to make it that simple and do have real wonders about how Steve Nash will handle this locker room but, Durant and Irving are so good at their best, it just won’t really matter what else happens around them.
One move I want to see them make: Upgrade the power forward spot (hint Aaron Gordon)
Even in the best case scenario of Durant and Irving playing, this team still has a huge hole defensively at the forward spot. By bringing in a guy like Aaron Gordon to fill a role for them, this team would have damn near a perfect roster (assuming health).
Offseason Grade: C+
They missed out on a third star, didn’t really upgrade their defence at all and hired a rookie coach with no experience. The good news is that coach was a master of player relationships when he played, has a strong bond with Durant and brought in an All-Star coaching staff. They also added Landry Shamet who should be fun next to Durant and Irving and brought back major piece, Joe Harris. It wasn’t a bad offseason however, it certainly wasn’t a great one so a C+ is their grade.
Young player I’m excited for: Landry Shamet
I’m really excited to see how they use Shamet. He can handle better than people think and his ability to stretch the floor next to Durant and Irving will be huge. Even if he doesn’t develop more of a handle like I think he can continue to do, his shooting will be a welcomed role piece next to their stars.
This team has the potential to be great. They also have the potential to flame out miserably. My guess is barring a significant trade for a third guy, they end up somewhere in the middle in 4th or 5th in the Eastern conference.