So it turns out that if you put three elite players together in their prime numbers, the result is an elite basketball.
The great experiment of the nets, which combines Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden in a souffle on the court, is in the works. But halfway through the season, the Nets could be the most feared team in the league. they are 10-1 in their last 11 games and 17-7 since Trade for Harden in January.
In some ways, drawing lasting conclusions from the first half of the nets is challenging, just as it would be to evaluate Thanos’ powers early in the Marvel Universe films. You are not fully trained.
The most disturbing data point is that the nets barely scratched the surface of their super trio. Durant, Irving and Harden only played together seven games, as a result of excruciating injuries and rest. The nets are 5-2 in these games. One of those losses – a close one against the Toronto Raptors – was that Durant came off the bench.
All three play the best basketball of their careers and barely made it together. It is possible that by thriving they were able to thrive. Even so, the nets are only one half game behind Philadelphia for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The networks are currently title favorites. In recent history, trios with multiple candidates have won the Most Valuable Player Award title (the Durant-era Golden State Warriors, the Miami Heat led by LeBron James). And there’s a legitimate argument that these three are the most talented threesomes in NBA history.
Here’s what to expect from the Nets in the second half of the season and what they’ve done right so far.
As usual, the rich could get richer
The way championships have been viewed by the public (and the media) as an endorsement of a player’s career motivates talented players to join already talented teams, even for lesser roles. This often shows up in the mid-season when productive players are bought out and land on competitors trying to chase a championship.
The trading period ends on March 25th. Two players on the networks radar are certainly Andre Drummond of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who is on the right track one of the greatest rebounders in league historyand Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons that is a season away from one of his prime years. The Pistons announced Friday that they had a takeover agreement with Griffin, and the same could happen for Drummond in Cleveland.
The nets are likely serious contenders for their services and that of other players who might be on the move because of their age and their team’s priorities, such as Al Horford and George Hill of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The thunder is in the middle of a youth movement.
The nets are in a position where they don’t have to give up on anyone. You just have to be patient. (And even if they wanted to, they don’t really have a lot of attractive trade items, especially if Spencer Dinwiddie is injured.)
Happy hardening is sad news for opponents
In Harden’s eight games with the Houston Rockets this season, it was clear he wasn’t trying. He jogged often, was not involved in the crime, and otherwise sluggish.
But it shows you: sometimes it pays to be irritable. In Brooklyn, Harden was motivated and therefore exceptional. Harden is in 23 games 11.4 templates on average (on pace for a career high and to lead the league), shot 49.7 percent off the field and 42.2 percent on 3-pointers. Harden would be a top MVP candidate right now if it weren’t for the standout game of Irving and Durant.
It has flowed seamlessly with Irving on and off the ball, and has often created simple opportunities not only for role-players but also for Irving, who was successful in the role of shooter.
The nets have been around since the Harden trade the best offense in the leaguewithout the stars of the team playing together a lot.
And that’s not surprising for a team with Harden and Irving, but the nets are close to that Top of the league in isolation. When you have as many elite goal scorers as coach Steve Nash does, you have the luxury of getting them to work and taking the defenses down one on one.
With Harden it is important to note whether its conditioning will result in failure later in the season. But for the first time in a long time, Harden is no longer expected to carry an entire crime on his own, so it may not matter.
The defense of the nets is bad – is that okay?
Before Harden got there, the nets were 13th in defense. Not that great, but just above average. With Harden the defense of the team has refueleduntil the 26th, among the worst in the league. Even over the 10: 1 stretch of the nets, the defense was not yet complete below average.
Some of it can cause injury. Durant is the team’s most versatile defender. He missed about half the season and has not spoken up since February 13 because of a strain on the left achilles tendon.
So can a team with a bad defense win the championship? Yes actually. But it’s rare.
A really bad defensive team that won a championship was the Los Angeles Lakers 2000-1, led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The Team was 22.. By the way, the year before, when they also won the championship, the Lakers led the league in defense. Imagine that.
The schedule looks promising
The nets will start the second half on a fairly soft schedule: 11 of their first 20 games will be against teams under .500. Of the other nine competitions, four are against the Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat, and the Knicks, with three teams hovering around 500.
The big three of the nets should be able to use this time to jell at the expense of less talented teams.
The roleplayers can do it
It’s easy to get all the attention to the stars, but Sean Marks, the general manager, has put together a solid cast too.
Jeff Green, the 34-year-old veteran, was a bargain. He has started 16 of his 33 games this season, averaging 9.5 points per game with a career high of 50.7 field goal percentages. He also shoots 42.2 percent of 3, which is important to relieve the main goal scorers of the nets. He’s a player who knows his limits and rarely makes mistakes. Green also has 72 playoff games up his sleeve, including a trip to the finals – an experience that should come in handy this spring.
Joe Harris is too have a career year fresh from landing a big job. He shoots a whopping 50.6 percent from 3-point range. That’s ridiculous. Nobody finished last year over 46 percent. In fact, nobody has been since Kyle Korver in the 2009/10 season.
Bruce Brown was a revelation to the nets, both as a starter and otherwise. He averages 8.6 points per game and 59 percent shooting. He’s averaged 18 points in his last six games, which has helped fill in Durant’s absence. On February 23, he lost a career high of 29 points against the Sacramento Kings.