Following three seasons since hiring head coach, Kenny Atkinson, the Brooklyn Nets General Manager, Sean Marks, has a promising championship-caliber team ahead of him.
On June 30, in the mist of NBA free agency, Marks signed NBA All-Stars, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan to the Nets.
One of the biggest transactions last offseason was the Nets signing two-time NBA Finals MVP, Kevin Durant, who recently finished his tenure with the Golden State Warriors.
However, Durant ruptured his left Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. The Warriors were defeated by the 2019 NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors.
Durant will be sidelined for the entire 2019-20 NBA season.
No word has been issued by Sean Marks or the Brooklyn Nets office as to whether Durant will miss all 82 games this season or not.
Durant told Kristen Ledlow of NBA TV earlier in October, “It [the injury] is something I have to get over and figure out different ways to attack the situation as a teammate. I’m looking forward to figuring out new ways to help and contribute to the group.”
“Ultimately, my best way of doing it is rehabbing by coming back and being a strong player,” Durant said.
The Nets will not play their star small forward and it will serve as a major blow to the team in the upcoming season. Last season, Durant averaged 26 points on 52 percent shooting of field goal percentage.
Consequently, 6-time NBA All-Star, Kyrie Irving, will be the starting point guard and leading the team this season.
Since being traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to Boston in 2017, Irving has had a troublesome tenure with the Celtics throughout his last two NBA seasons before joining Brooklyn.
Irving has acknowledged dealing with low team chemistry and miscommunications with his now-former Celtic teammates, including Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum.
This was allegedly due to Irving wanting to be the on-court franchise leader of his own team which resulted in fallouts with the Celtics.
Nevertheless, Irving has since acknowledged not being at his best for those two years. This was praised by two-time NBA Champion and current NBA panelist, Isiah Thomas, “Now he’s [Irving] had a chance to learn from his mistakes, understand the things he did wrong in Boston and not repeat them in Brooklyn.”
Last season, Irving averaged 23.8 points per game on 48.7 percent shooting from the field.
Thomas continues, “This is an interesting time for Kyrie. Can he be a ‘better Kyrie’ as a leader and not necessarily a better basketball player?”
The rest of the Nets starting lineup includes DeAndre Jordan as the big-man at the center position and Carris LeVert as the number two guard paired with Irving behind the arc. Joe Harris and Rodions Kurucs will be the starting forwards.
DeAndre Jordan has received universal praise as one of NBA’s best screeners and rim protectors in terms of blocks. He is best known for his time playing on the Los Angeles Clippers for ten years, especially during its “lob city” era in the early-2010s.
Before the arrival of Irving and Durant, the Brooklyn Nets had one of their worst seasons in 2016-17, finishing with that year’s lowest NBA win-loss record of 20-62.
Only two years later, the Nets finish with a 42-40 win-loss record and are eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
Last season, the Nets were also ranked 15th in average points per game; 112.2 points.
With the addition of Kyrie Irving and despite the loss of Kevin Durant, it’s very likely the Brooklyn Nets will have a decent season or clinch a playoff seed once more. However, unless Durant returns to play in time, it’s very apparent that the Nets will not get past the NBA Playoffs’ first round again.
The next preseason game for the Nets will be on October 18 against the Toronto Raptors in the Barclays Center.
The Nets’ first regular season opener will be against the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 23, followed by the New York Knicks on October 25. Both games will be held in the Barclays Center.
For more information, visit nba.com/nets.