5 big Brooklyn Nets questions for 2021-22 NBA season
The Brooklyn Nets have constantly been in the headlines due to the Kyrie Irving COVID-19 vaccine drama. Irving is currently in line to not play for the Nets this season because of his resistance to the vaccine, which could throw a wrench in their championship plans. Kevin Durant and James Harden lead a roster that’s still loaded without Irving, but the margin for error gets a bit smaller without the star point guard.
The Nets added Australian maestro Patty Mills to their lineup, along with big men LaMarcus Aldridge (back out of retirement) and Paul Millsap as well. Nets head coach Steve Nash is entering his second year manning the squad, and all eyes will be on Brooklyn this season. Here are five looming questions for the Brooklyn Nets in the 2021-22 season.
5 big Brooklyn Nets questions
1. Is Kyrie Irving planning to get the vaccine at some point in the season?
Even with the stubbornness of Irving when it comes to the vaccine, he might realize the financial repercussions of his decision and decide to suit up for the Nets at some point of the season. They are the overwhelming favorite to capture the championship with Irving, thus he may realize the benefits of getting himself inoculated.
With the Nets hesitating to give Irving an extension as well, that’s around $200 million he’s currently giving up (he can obviously make some of this up in the future). Even without Irving, the Nets could still capture that elusive ring, but another injury to one of their key stars could derail their chances once again.
2. Do they have the bigs to guard the best big men in the league?
With the aforementioned additions of Aldridge and Millsap, the Nets have shored up their frontline rotation. However, Nicolas Claxton is the only big on their roster who excels on the defensive end of the court. Blake Griffin, Millsap, and Aldridge are past their prime, so their contributions are more evident on the offensive side of the court.
The likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bam Adebayo, and Joel Embiid will wreak havoc on the Nets because of their lack of stoppers down low. With the current construction of this Nets roster, it will be difficult for them to contain these players in a seven-game series.
3. Is Steve Nash the right coach for this team?
Nash is just entering his second season as a head coach in his career. With the huge chunk of talent in the team, there are instances in the regular season where they can succeed due to talent alone. However, in the latter part of a seven-game playoff series, the head coach must address a plethora of concerns in a short span of time.
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The Nets blew out the Milwaukee Bucks in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but with Mike Budenholzer adjusting his game plan, the Bucks were able to triumph over the Nets in seven games. Others would use the excuse of Harden and Irving incurring injuries during the series, but Nash could have implemented a few more adjustments to help close out that series.
4. Can Durant and Harden be healthy for the whole season?
Durant and Harden are not known to be injury-prone basketball players. Unfortunately over the last few seasons, Durant suffered an Achilles tear and a hamstring strain, while Harden also sustained a hamstring injury a couple of times last season.
With the uncertainty of the status of Irving, it will be tough for the Nets to beat the Bucks or other contenders if another one of the stars gets hurt again. This dynamic duo could be enough to lead Brooklyn to a title, but the question mark is still their health and durability for a whole season.
5. Will Irving and Harden sign long-term extensions with the Nets?
Durant signed an enormous four-year, $198 million contract extension with the Nets in the offseason as he plans to reach the goal of bringing a championship to Brooklyn. The expectation was for both Irving and Harden to follow suit, but they are now at a standstill. The Nets are not expecting to sign Irving anytime soon because of his decision to not get vaccinated, but Harden expressing his desire to possibly test free agency may be a cause for concern for Nash and the Nets.
If the Nets go on an incredible run and win the 2022 championship, Irving and Harden may decide not to test out the market and evaluate other options. On the other hand, there are still major hurdles and obstacles that this drama-filled squad must overcome over the course of the current season. Contract extension negotiations may cause frustration internally, but the Nets must possess strong mental fortitude across all members of the organization for the franchise to win the championship.