Back in 2013, I made the greatest decision of my life. I became a Brooklyn Nets fan. My friend Bill told me a story about the best point guard in the league, an underrated big man, two legends, and the most clutch man on Earth. It was love at first sight. I wept tears of joy as the Nets swept the Heat in the regular season. Joe Johnson’s constant late-game heroics turned irrelevant games into must-watch television. Paul Pierce's block on Kyle Lowry still visits me in my dreams from time to time. As a casual fan, I was excited for the future, not realizing the dark times that lurked ahead. Through these times, little glimmers of hope kept me day-dreaming of glory. A GM from Pop’s coaching tree, a coach who emphasized grit and effort, a big man who could only be described as an international sex symbol. Eventually, the little things panned out; grit turned into hard-fought wins, castaways turned into stars, and the idea of a winning culture turned into reality. Today the Brooklyn Nets are contenders. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving highlight a deep roster that has the makings of champions. Bill and I decided to team up to discuss the upcoming season, which will prove to be the biggest in Brooklyn’s history.
Ideal Starting Lineup
Kyrie Irving / Caris Levert / Joe Harris / Kevin Durant / Deandre Jordan
Spencer Dinwiddie / Jared Allen / Landry Shamet / Taurean Prince / Jeff Green / Tyler Johnson / Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot
Bill: The big question is how Caris will be able to fit into the starting lineup with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving dominating the touches. I think this is how Steve Nash set the lineups to start the season. Eventually if the team needs that additional spark off the bench there are options for Caris’ replacement. Spencer would probably be the first choice to replace Caris, however, I think Shamet might do well in that roll, but the defense would suffer.
Eddie: I agree with Bill's ideal lineup. Despite being a huge Allen fan, I like him coming off the bench with Dinwiddie since they already have two years of chemistry. Initially, DJ will close-out games with the starters, however, I think Allen winds up taking those minutes from him as the season progresses. While Caris is undoubtedly our third best player, I did like him being the sixth man in the two preseason games. The team is clearly deep and I think the Nets will try many lineups throughout the year depending on availability and situation.
Nets end the season with the 1 seed in the east, upsetting the Bucks and taking home court for the east playoffs. The Nets depth makes the crucial difference in surviving games where Kyrie and KD are either resting or not playing well.
I like where Bill's head is at but unfortunately I think the Bucks keep the 1 seed. They've gotten better over the off-season and Giannis acts like the regular season is the playoffs. So while the Bucks are 110% going to secure the 1st seed, I see the Nets sliding into the second while properly resting their stars.
Kyrie Irving: 28.6 points per game, 7 assists, 5 rebounds
Kevin Durant is one of the best scorers of all time, however, I think Kyrie edges him out slightly and takes the scoring leader for the 2020-2021 Brooklyn Nets.
Kevin Durant: 26.1 points per game, 7 assists, 8 rebounds
I see where Bill is coming from and part of me agrees with him, but after nearly 600 days of people publicly doubting Durant, I think he wants to prove them wrong. He scored 26 on the Warriors with Klay and Steph, I think he does it again on the Nets. While he has proven time and time again he can score, I do see his rebounds and assists going up as he takes on a different role for the Nets.
Season Ending Prediction
Bill: Nets win the finals in 7 games vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.
LeBron out performs Durant with personal stats but the Nets prove to be the better team in the end.
Eddie: I agree with Bill 100%. The Lakers are incredible but I think our depth will prove to be too much after a hard fought series.
Nets’ Team MVP (not named Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving)
Bill: Spencer Dinwiddie wins 6th man of the year and leads a lethal 2nd unit that elevates the Nets above all the other contenders.
Eddie: I have to go with Caris Levert here. Whoever comes off the bench for the Nets will be the 6th man of the year, but I think Caris is what will truly elevate this team. If he comes off the bench, he's running the score up. If he starts he's scoring at ease as the defense tries to stop two superstars. I also don't think Caris has reached his peak yet. He's gotten better each year he's been in the league and I doubt learning under KD and Kyrie will do anything but help his game.
So here we are yet again. The best PG in the league, an underrated big man, two legends, and the most clutch man on earth. The Nets have a two year window, and Sean Marks has never disappointed me. He has handcrafted this team to win championships, and win championships they will.
Be sure to follow @Billy_Grup on Twitter if you like his Nets takes.
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