The Brooklyn Nets have what has been dubbed as the best offensive duo in NBA history by Magic Johnson. Naturally, from the time the two stars joined, they brought high expectations to Brooklyn. Those expectations were even higher this season in their first full year with their big three of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden. However, things quickly changed with Kyrie unable to play in games because of the New York City vaccine mandate and rumors of James Harden wanting out of Brooklyn.
With all that happened in Brooklyn, it makes sense why the team underachieved. One of their big three stopped wanting to be part of the team, and one was only part of the team for away games. That left the Nets with the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Boston Celtics. Now, the Nets sit eliminated from the playoffs with more questions. Especially around what their roster will be next season and if they bring back Kyrie Irving or Bruce Brown. What the roster looks like is one of the major things fans are calling for improvements on after some disappointing moves from Sean Marks this season.
Despite those concerns, that doesn’t seem to be the least of the Nets problems. On a recent NBA broadcast, TNT analyst and former NBA Head Coach, Stan Van Gundy may have added to that in his recent statements.
The Nets Biggest Obstacles
While covering the Conference Finals for TNT, Reggie Miller and Stan Van Gundy were unable to close the Nets’ championship window possibilities. That despite there being questions around Ben Simmons next year and what the Nets big three may look at, they noted that the problem was not the roster.
“I think potentially they have the makings of a good roster. The real issue is that they have issues,” said Van Gundy, amending that to “They have a lot of issues.”
The issues that the former coach of the Heat, Pistons, Pelicans and Magic, clarified that they were all about the trust.
“Over time — Reggie’s been there with teams — are guys going to look around and really have trust for other guys? Or will they be looking around saying, ‘You know what, that dude is going to let us down. I know he is. We can’t count on him,’ ” Van Gundy said. “And so they’ve got a lot to overcome in that way, which I think may even be more important than the talent they put out on the floor.”
Brooklyn’s Self-Inflicted Wounds
Van Gundy’s broadcast partner NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, agreed with that idea.
“You’re right about the self-inflicted wounds, because Kyrie was a half-time, part-time player. So we’ll never know [what they could’ve done.] I mean, they never would’ve been in the situation where they had to play up, play a Boston Celtics in the first round,” Miller said.
“They never would’ve been in the play-in situation if Kyrie played 65, 70 games. I just don’t think they’re in that position there. So until we see their roster and a healthy Ben Simmons and a healthy Joe Harris, it’s kind of hard to assess them, because we don’t know,” he continued.
That’s the biggest question in Brooklyn. How do they respond to this disappointing season? Will the players they have on the roster have what it takes to mesh together and elevate the Nets to the championship level they are capable of?