The Brooklyn Nets couldn’t get over the injuries
Now that the seasons are drawing to a close, it’s time to write the obituary for the 2020-2021 seasons that were. Looking back on each team that made the playoffs will give an opportunity to see what went well and what went wrong. It will also allow us to anticipate what awaits us during the offseason to come.
The awesome team got together and put on the villain hat. Unfortunately, injuries caught up with them and the Brooklyn Nets returned home early.
In what was an odd season for the Brooklyn Nets, they were clearly one of the most talented teams on the pitch. James harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are all top 20 players at worst. Every time another player signed with the team, it made NBA Twitter react as if the league had folded and competitiveness was dead. So why are they coming home in the second round of the playoffs?
For most of the season, the Nets’ big three failed to enter the field at the same time. Durant was limited to 35 games during the regular season. Harden, who was traded to the team in the second week of January, only played 36 games for the team. Irving played 54 before sustaining an untimely injury in the conference final.
Despite the injuries, for much of the season the Nets appeared to be the clear favorite to win the championship. They were the best offensive unit in the league (117.3 offense rating) and were able to bolster the defense in the playoffs. Bruce Brown was a revelation and turned out to be one of the most important two-way players on the team. Blake Griffin joined the team in the buyout market and provided solid shooting assists and good acceleration.
In the end, the injuries were just too bad. Harden was playing on level two hamstring strain in the second round and has only been able to limp in the last three games. Irving suffered a sprained ankle in Game 4 and the series turned from there. Despite Durant’s legendary run (34.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 steals on shooting fractions of 0.514 / 0.402 / 871 in 40.4 minutes per game ), the season is over.
What happens after
There is good news and bad news for the Brooklyn Nets. The good news is Durant, Irving, Harden and Joe Harris are all under contract for next season. Harris fought mightily against the Bucks, but he often looked like the fourth All-Star this season. However, the rest of the list is up in the air.
It starts with the idea that their three stars are eligible for extensions. They may all prefer to wait to hit free agency, but the bill is still looming. Beyond that, Jeff Green, Tyler Johnson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Bruce Brown (restricted), Blake Griffin and Mike James are all free agents. Spencer Dinwiddie (who has missed all but three games this season) has a player option that is almost guaranteed to be turned down.
In addition, several assistant coaches from Steve Nash’s staff are being considered for other jobs. Mike D’Antoni has been connected to several openings in the league, including the Indiana Pacers and the Portland Trail Blazers. Ime Udoka is one of the top contenders for the Boston Celtics job. Change is coming to Brooklyn. However, it looks like the Miami Heat in 2011 after losing to the Dallas Mavericks. They’ll find veterans who want to play for a title (like Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge did this season) and they should be the favorites to win it all next season.