What the Kevin Durant trade to the Phoenix Suns means for the Rockets

N.B. Lindberg
Brooklyn Nets v New Orleans Pelicans
Brooklyn Nets v New Orleans Pelicans / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
2 of 3

The Nets roster is devoid of stars but not quality

Just eyeballing the roster, the Nets appear to have built a team that can’t win more than 45 games but won’t win fewer than 35. They employ two elite 3-and-D wings in Finney-Smith and Mikal Bridges, Nic Claxton has become a borderline All-Star this season, Dinwiddie has been excellent as he gets farther away from his ACL tear, and Johnson will likely be handed a large extension to stay in Brooklyn. 

The wild card in it all is Ben Simmons. The former first-overall pick has looked like a shell of himself in Brooklyn, but if he ever regains his form he’s an excellent playmaker and defender. A lineup of Simmons, Claxton, Finney-Smith, Bridges, and Johnson could be ferocious defensively and play an uptempo brand of offense reliant on transition. That recipe won’t win many playoff series, but it’s enough to respectfully get through the regular season.  

The other bad news for the Rockets is that the Nets have gotten significantly younger. In each trade, they have landed players still in their twenties. Simmons, Bridges, and Johnson are 26, and Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith are 29. By the time the 2026-27 season roles around this quintet will still be in their productive years.