Team #4: Brooklyn Nets
When James Harden first made it known that he wanted a trade from the Houston Rockets he put the Brooklyn Nets at the top of his list. The move gained little traction because the Nets already employed two superstars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and weren’t willing to surrender the assets necessary to form the NBA’s deadliest big-three.
That was when their record was 0-0, but now, staring at a 3-4 record, the Nets still need more if they’re going to be a championship contender. Their point differential of +4.6 points per game looks healthy but that was built up from two blowout wins in their first two games.
Since dismantling the Golden State Warriors by 26 points and the Boston Celtics by 28, the Nets have been outscored 22 points over their next four games. This poor stretch wasn’t a product of running the gauntlet as they faced the Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks twice, and the Washington Wizards.
The Nets entered the season with enviable depth, but after an ACL injury to Spencer Dinwiddie, their team has become top-heavy. The team has become reliant on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving producing monster stat lines each and every night to have a chance.
James Harden would eliminate their depth but he’d give the team one more player capable of winning a game all on his own. Harden, after four games, is averaging 33 points and 10.8 assists per game which would both lead the Nets.
Teams need to capitalize on their championship windows and the Nets window are these next two seasons. Durant is 32-years-old and Kyrie, while 28-years-old, has had a litany of injuries and hasn’t played 70 games since the 2016-17 season.
There are reports that Nets assistant coach and former Rockets head coach, Mike D’Antoni, has tried to steer the franchise away from acquiring Harden. D’Antoni might have his concerns about Harden but he knows firsthand how his talent can take any team to the next level.
The Brooklyn Nets haven’t been as good as advertised and still need another star to be a true championship contender. Durant and Kyrie are a good start but they need to give up the farm to bring in James Harden if they want to have a chance at making the finals.
Next: Team No.3