February 9, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

The Brooklyn Nets are the biggest NBA flop of the 21st century

See what happened was...

See what happened was…Photo: Getty Images

With Kyrie Irving dominating the news cycle for the past few days, now seems like a good time to remind you that even if you take all of the Brooklyn Nets’ extrajudicial issues out of the equation, they’re still a really bad basketball team .

I don’t think it’s the slightest exaggeration to say that the Nets have proven to be the biggest disappointment — the biggest failure — in the NBA of the 21st century, and maybe of all time, in recent years. No matter which team from yesterday couldn’t live up to the hype, none did with the Brooklyn flair.

The Nets underperformed so badly that the disappointing Kobe Bryant-Dwight Howard-Pau Gasol Lakers team, who earned 7th place and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, or the ringless Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook-James Harden Thunder rosters — with three potential MVPs on the roster — don’t even come close to that absolute disaster.

It seems incredibly long ago, but think back to how concerned you were for the rest of the league when you found out Harden had been traded to the Nets to join Irving and Durant. Many believed that a team with two of the best scorers the game had ever seen and a man with good touches would win not just one league, but several. They could have been the next NBA dynasty.

Three years into Kyrie and KD’s tenure in Brooklyn — with what appear to be dozens of controversies and Harden traded for Ben Simmons — there’s only a single win in the playoff series to boast of.

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So far, the Nets are 3-6 in their first nine games this year, have the worst defensive rating in the league, fired their coach, suspended their erratic point guard and are, at best, a play-in team for the second straight year – if they are lucky.

Even if you only focus on the basketball aspect, never has a team done less with more.

“But if Kevin Durant was a shoe size smaller.” Well, he’s not. That’s the dumbest excuse I’ve ever heard, and one that for some reason people only use here. You’ve never heard, “Well, if Lebron James’ wingspan was a little shorter, Andre Iguadola would have made that layup.”

“Well, if New York City hadn’t had a vaccination mandate for most of last season, Kyrie would have played all year and the Nets would have been a higher seed with better team chemistry.” But it did, and it was Kyrie’s choice not to get vaccinated. Plus, there’s no guarantee they would actually have been good enough to get past the Eastern Conference champion Celtics, who swept Brooklyn.

This team is completely broken, top to bottom. The webs have accomplished nothing since this particular group of stars were brought together, and they will accomplish nothing in the future. Harden got out, and now the Nets have Simmons, who starts this season looking even worse than when we last saw him play basketball and missed dunks in the playoffs.

It doesn’t matter how good the individual players are, they just aren’t a good team. When Irving comes back from suspension I’m sure he will continue to put up 26.9 points per game on 21.5 field goal attempts until the All-Star break when he decides to move to Belize, to start a religion. Durant will also get his 30, but there will be a lot of casualties.

There’s no clear way to proceed from this particular iteration of the Brooklyn Nets. Durant has already requested a trade that didn’t materialize, apparently because it’s worth more than any team is willing to give up. He’s not a free agent until 2026. Simmons isn’t a free agent until 2025, and I can’t imagine a team not on the list with a Harden wanting to leave would trade for him.

There have been rumors about Irving to the Lakers but it seems increasingly unlikely as what team would want that distraction? The silver lining is that he’s a free agent this offseason, so Brooklyn could always let him walk. The Nets have two first-round picks in this upcoming draft and no more until 2027.

This team’s present looks pretty bleak and the future doesn’t look much brighter. They did it to themselves by assembling this group of talented but ill-fitting pieces like a toddler defiantly trying to fit the triangle into the square hole.