It is no secret that the Brooklyn Nets are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. With their superstar trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving leading the way, they could very well end up lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy this July. There probably isn’t any team in the league that can match the offensive firepower when those three take the floor. It’s going to be hard for any team to stop the Nets from just lighting up whoever is in their path on the way to a championship.
There is, however, a very huge caveat and it’s becoming more of a glaring concern as the regular season winds down. The Nets’ Big Three has only played seven (SEVEN!) games together. That’s just one playoff series, maximum.
It seems like that number is going to stay the same for the foreseeable future with Kevin Durant back on the sidelines (again) with a thigh contusion and James Harden out indefinitely with a more-serious-than-expected hamstring strain.
These injuries are definitely becoming more problematic for the Nets, especially with the playoffs about to begin in a month. With a return date for all three to actually play alongside each other still not in sight, time is running out for Brooklyn to establish some sort of on-court chemistry, especially between Durant, Harden, and Irving.
As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Winning in the NBA is hard. Some teams spend years to build that chemistry and continuity. Yes, it’s a superstar-driven league, and most often, teams that have the best ones end up lifting the Larry OB Trophy. However, establishing that chemistry and continuity remains a highly underrated aspect of winning a title.
The Miami Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh learned this the hard way when they lost their first NBA Finals together to the underdog Dallas Mavericks in 2011. They needed to go through that tough defeat of losing to a team with an already established core that had played together for multiple years.
The Nets are nowhere near where they want to be chemistry-wise with so many of their core pieces going in and out of the lineup. And, as mentioned, that’s not about to be addressed in the near future.
Let’s say Durant, Harden, and Irving all return healthy in two weeks. They only have a couple of weeks before the postseason where they can get the reps of actually playing together. That isn’t going to be enough to establish the championship-ready chemistry they need to reach their ultimate end goal this season.
Obviously, getting their superstars healthy is still priority No. 1. The Nets will likely exercise caution as much as possible to make sure they get to the playoffs without any nagging ailments. They would rather have their roster, especially their Big Three, 100 percent for the playoffs and bank on their sheer talent to somehow lift them to a title.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter how much talent they have altogether on the roster, even if it’s with elite superstars like Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. If the pieces don’t come together, the Brooklyn Nets better say goodbye to their championships aspirations, for this season at least.