At the outset of last year’s NBA season start, the Brooklyn Nets were undoubtedly had one of the league’s most exciting lineups. Not only were KD and Kyrie Irving hitting a flow building on the previous season, but James Harden brought a new wave of hype into Brooklyn. Unfortunately, piece by piece, the Nets’ season fell apart.
Looking back, the Nets experienced breakdowns in multiple critical areas. First, a series of injuries meant the team wasn’t quite the deadly force analysts had predicted. Second, off-the-court drama, including Irving’s ineligibility to play in home games and a mid-season trade request from Harden, compromise the team’s momentum. Both issues created a palpable lack of chemistry.
The Nets bowed out of the playoffs with a 4-0 sweep by Boston before they went on to the Finals. Currently, NBA odds in Canada cover the 2022 NBA Finals teams, the Celtics and Warriors. Though the Warriors are the favorites, oddsmakers aren’t lengthening lines on the Celtics. Both teams have been neck-in-neck throughout the playoffs and are now providing fans a riveting Finals series.
After dominative seasons, the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors represent the league’s finest—but before the 2021-22 season start, many had their eye on the Brooklyn Nets to take the Eastern Conference. With multiple players in free agency and the potential to rehash another dynastic lineup, here are five possibilities for the Brooklyn Nets for the 2022-23 season.
The Nets Re-Sign Irving
Rumors continue to swirl about where Irving will end up at the end of his free agency. Prior to signing with the Nets three years ago, Irving had verbally committed to Boston. Following the team’s elimination by the Celtics this year, Irving verbally committed to staying on with the Nets.
In his post-game interview, Irving sited a desire to turn the Nets into a winning franchise and rise to the top of the league. Still, while Irving looks likely to resign on a major contract, the Nets ultimate success doesn’t necessarily come down to Irving’s ball-handling, vision, and consistent assist ratings.
Instead, it will boil down to off-the-court issues, just like the 2022-23 season. And with a spoiled year behind him, it’s likely Irving will be more motivated than ever to live up to leading the team.
Simmons Still an Unknown
In early May, Simmons’ future got even murkier when news broke that the star needed back surgery, requiring another three to four months break from basketball. However, the player is now expected to rejoin the team during summer training. Whether he’ll contribute next season remains to be seen.
Find a Way to Keep Bruce Brown
Heading into the 2021-22 season, all eyes were on KD, Irving, and Harden to lead the Nets into a dynastic position in the Eastern Conference. When that quickly fell apart, Bruce Brown stepped up to become the team’s unlikely hero. The 25-year-old is now in free agency, alongside Irving and fellow come-up talent Nic Claxton.
The Nets success heading into the next season will be hustlers like Brown who find a way to be useful both offensively (averaging 14 points in some early games) and defensively. Brown’s skillset and instincts developed consistently over the season, which the Nets should be looking to lock down for the next few years. However, with a star-studded cast, Brown may be pushing for a trade.
All Eyes on the Draft Class
The Nets may have lost Harden, but they gained Simmons and a late-first-round draft pick. Though they’ve deferred until next year, the team might try to sign a forward like EJ Liddell. Liddell has strong three-point stats and, like Brown, promises to bring versatility to the lineup.
Finding On-the-Court Chemistry
Speaking of momentum on the floor, if there’s one prediction for the Nets that fans can count on, it’s the push for on-court chemistry. As mentioned above, the Nets 2021-22 season was marred by injuries and off-the-court decisions from players like Irving. Though these present unique challenges, one of the most tangible effects was a lack of chemistry between the players. This led to numerous breakdowns during live games and will likely be one of Steve Nash’s primary focuses—and it all starts with summer training camp.
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