The Brooklyn Nets took their offseason very seriously. Instead of standing pat like other teams, Sean Marks decided to shake things up on a team who surprised many and made the playoffs.
Even with the loss of their spark plug D’Angelo Russell, the Nets are still looking towards a bright future with Kyrie Irving. They added defensive and rebounding ace DeAndre Jordan to a team who finished 7th in totals rebounding last season.
And let’s not forget, the presence of Kevin Durant. If he’s able to make it back this season, that spells trouble for the rest of the league. The 2019-20 season will either be one of a learning experience or one of championship dream for the Nets. They have the talent to come out of the East.
Here are 5 bold predictions for the Brooklyn Nets 2019-20 season.
5. Nets Will Finish 2nd In Atlantic Division
Despite their additions, winning will come down to chemistry.
The only players on the roster with title experience are Durant and Irving while the rest are young and just got a taste of the playoffs last season. It’s a talented bunch, but how far can they get will depend on injuries and chemistry.
Will they be better than the Boston Celtics? Yes. The Celtics must find themselves all over again. The Toronto Raptors have no chance to leapfrog the Nets in the standings as they have lost too much this offseason. The New York Knicks are loaded in the frontcourt but don’t have anything to show that wins will come in waves.
That leaves the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers are too deep, talented, and experienced not to come out the Atlantic Division as champs.
4. Sean Marks Will Make A Trade At The Deadline
The Nets will be well improved this upcoming season with the additions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan. Combine those players with the solid core they had last year, and a deep playoff run is expected.
However, winning brings issues Sean Marks may not be ready for. By the NBA trade deadline, Marks’ phone will be ringing off the hook.
With the backcourt crowded and playing time-limited, teams will be calling for either Caris LaVert or Spencer Dinwiddie. Both are capable scorers and should be starting somewhere else.
In the frontcourt, there could be a deal for Jarrett Allen. If Jordan can stay healthy, Allen could be on the block. A good backup he will be but last season he came into his own as a starter averaging 10.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game.
Some team will offer valuable pieces or picks and Marks may not be able to turn them down.
3. Nets Will Be A Top 5 Defensive Team
Last season, the Brooklyn Nets finished the year ranked 14th in points allowed. Middle of the pack with a young team was good, however, this coming season, the Nets will be different.
D’Angelo Russell was good at the point of attack but Kyrie Irving is one of the best at the position on both ends of the floor. His presence alone will raise the stakes. But the real reason for their defensive upgrade resides in the paint.
With the addition of Jordan, the Nets now have a defensive presence in the middle. For teams with guards who like to drive to the basket, there will be no more easy shots with a player who once averaged over 2 blocks per game. The Nets were 3rd in defending the three-point shot and 22nd in steals.
With Irving now leading the charge, he will energize the rest of the backcourt players to take more risks on jumping the passing lanes knowing they have Jordan as a last line of defense.
They will be much improved.
2. DeAndre Jordan Will Lead The League In Rebounding
Rebounding is key on the defensive end. If a team can consistently hit the boards, that opens up the transition offense.
Last season, the Nets ranked seventh in total rebounds with their best rebounder averaging 8.6 (Ed Davis). What that means is that it was a team effort to hit the glass. In the 2018-19 season, Jordan averaged 13.1 boards for the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks.
With the Nets stacked on the perimeter and the league geared more toward perimeter play, expect Jordan to have plenty of chances to become the rebounding king next season.
Jordan averaged 3.3 offensive rebounds per game and that should increase with the Nets coming in as a team who attempted the 5th most three-pointers in the league.
This is Jordan’s season to reclaim his spot as one of the top bigs in the NBA.
1. Nets Will Make Eastern Conference Finals
The Brooklyn Nets, on paper, have everything.
The Eastern Conference in the offseason appears to be four teams heavy. The Nets, 76ers, Celtics, and Bucks will all be vying for the top spot in the East.
While the Bucks will enter the year with the same team, many are wondering if their surprise season was a fluke? Can they do it again? The Celtics will be tough but the Nets will have more depth at key positions.
Coming in as either the third or second seed (depending on Durant), they have a clear path to the ECF as long as they stay clear of the 76ers. If a matchup occurs between them and the Bucks, Milwaukee just doesn’t have enough firepower to offset the Nets depth. This is what hurt the Bucks last season against the Raptors.
And if Durant returns before the playoffs, they may have enough to knock the 76ers off and advance to the NBA Finals.