NBA News

Houston Rockets: Projecting the Brooklyn Nets’ draft picks to 2027

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 05: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) James Harden #13, Kevin Durant #7 (L) and Kyrie Irving #11 (C) of the Brooklyn Nets look on against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center on February 05, 2021 in New York City. The Raptors defeated the Nets 123-117. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 05: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) James Harden #13, Kevin Durant #7 (L) and Kyrie Irving #11 (C) of the Brooklyn Nets look on against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center on February 05, 2021 in New York City. The Raptors defeated the Nets 123-117. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
facebooktwitterreddit
3 of 3
Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant #7 James Harden #13 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets: Projecting the Brooklyn Nets’ Big-3

Predicting how a player will age is incredibly difficult, yet, also relatively easy. All players get worse as they trudge through their 30s towards basketball mortality, but what’s most difficult to predict is the depth of their descent.

Another complicating factor is that as players age they’re more apt to get hurt. While this knowledge can be baked into a projection, it’s nearly impossible to ration it correctly. For instance, a player might be predicted to play 30 fewer games from the age of 30 to 32 than they did from 28 to 32 but knowing if it’ll be evenly distributed across three seasons or happen all at once is impossible to know.

Houston Rockets: Projecting the Brooklyn Nets’ Big-3 methodology

To project Brooklyn’s big-3 through the 2026-27 season I started by projecting their Box Plus/Minus decline, then incorporated playing time to get their value over a replacement player (VORP), and then multiplied their VORP by 2.7 to get wins above replacement (WAR). Once I had the Nets’ big-3’s WAR I added it to 26.4 (the number of games a replacement level team would win) to get the Nets’ win projections each of the next six seasons. Once all the numbers were crunched, the result of these projections does not look rosy for the Rockets.

Brooklyn Nets Projected Wins over 82 games

2021-22   2022-23   2023-24   2024-25   2025-26   2026-27

   63.6            61              58.2             55.3          52.2            49.1

However, there is some evidence to suggest that multiplying a team’s VORP by 2.7 is in fact too high and that multiplying it by 2.15 gets a better win projection and that a replacement level team would win closer to 20 games, not 26.4. If the Nets are projected using those parameters, suddenly the Rockets are liking the James Harden trade a whole lot more.

Brooklyn Nets Projected Wins over 82 games

2021-22   2022-23   2023-24   2024-25   2025-26   2026-27

   51.6            49.4           47.2             44.9          42.5            40

Suddenly the Nets go from being overwhelming finals favorites to merely a good team. The truth is, reality probably lies between the two. With our final projection simply being the mean of these two.

Brooklyn Nets Projected Wins over 82 games

2021-22   2022-23   2023-24   2024-25   2025-26   2026-27

   57.6            55.2          52.7             50.1           47.3           44.5

If the Nets core trio stays together they project to be a playoff team just about every season they owe picks to the Rockets. However, these projections assume that no one misses a significant chunk of a single season, unlikely over the course of six seasons and three 30-year-old bodies and that all three re-sign in the summer of 2022.

Houston Rockets: Where the Brooklyn Nets draft picks will land

Since 2015-16 the fewest wins it has taken, in an 82 games season, to be the eighth seed in the Eastern conference has been 41 wins and the most 44. Most of Brooklyn’s picks will be towards the end of the first round and it’s not until 2025-26 that they look even like a fringe playoff team.

For the Rockets to get any valuable draft capital they need to hope that one of the Nets’ trio declines more rapidly than anticipated. Simply landing one draft pick in the top-10 will feel like a massive disappointment considering the fallout from the James Harden trade.

Houston Rockets 2021 NBA Mock Draft 1.0. Next

The chances that the Rockets land a top-five pick from the Nets look slim right now, but, projections are conservative by design. It’s just as likely the Nets blow by these marks as they crumble into a mess. The James Harden trade will take years to determine a real winner, but if these projections are any indication, the Nets might not live to regret it.

facebooktwitterreddit