Tuesday, November 30 2021
Nets Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving high five grey jersey

Nets Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving high five grey jersey

With the 2021-22 Nets season about to begin, here are five bold predictions on what’s to unfold between now and April.

These are based on past performances and some conjecture. Some predictions may be bolder than others, and assume injuries won’t play a major role.

James Harden leads the league in assists

Surprisingly, Harden only had one season leading the NBA in assists, back in 2016-17. However he put up his highest assists per game as a Net last season since that league-leading year.

It became evident early, not just to those watching but to Brooklyn’s roster, that Harden would be the star-studded cast’s point guard and lead distributor. You can expect the same this year, only he’s in much better shape with a half-season among his new teammates under his belt.

On top of that, his former teammate Russell Westbrook – who held the assist title in three of the last four years – may have to defer more than ever before, now that he’s a Laker. If Kyrie Irving misses time due to his vaccination status, Harden will get the ball in his hands even more.

Kevin Durant wins MVP

Durant is currently tied with the second-best odds of taking home this award, for good reason. The safe MVP pick is the best player on the best team, and if the Nets can dominate the regular season, there’s no questioning who that is.

KD was a favorite last season until he had to miss time due to injury. On the season he averaged 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists on 53.7% shooting from the field and 45% from deep. That’s an MVP line, and one easily repeatable for arguably the game’s top talent.

Anybody can come and steal the narrative early in the season, but Brooklyn is looking to make its mark after an up-and-down COVID and blockbuster trade-affected year. With Giannis Antetokounmpo getting championship shine and LeBron James stealing headlines with his new co-star, Durant’s going to want to leave his mark as well.

Nets aren’t done making moves

Is another superstar about to join in on the Big Three’s fun? Probably not. But Brooklyn has a couple of trade exceptions and the looming mid-season buyout market to play with, and they’re sure to do so.

Though the Nets are incredibly stacked, even down to their multitude of former All-Stars riding the pine, you can never have enough depth and variety on a contending team. Should Kevin Love or Derrick Favors become available, expect Brooklyn to make moves to snatch them up.

The trade market gets a bit trickier, especially if they have to give up a young piece they’re fond of. But in pursuit of a championship, those sacrifices can and will be made.

Cam Thomas emerges as steal of the draft

This may already be true, but we won’t know until he steps on an NBA court that isn’t located in Las Vegas. The 27th overall pick out of LSU dazzled at Summer League, securing the MVP, and should continue his rise in the big leagues.

The Nets seemingly have enough on-ball offensive output between their three stars and Patty Mills, but injuries, defensive coverages and minutes distribution will require more creation at times. Nobody is better suited to that than Thomas.

Of all their marginal pieces vying for a piece of the consistent rotation, it’s hard to see anybody setting themselves apart like Thomas. Expect him to play a significant role in his rookie season.

Nets win the NBA championship

Amazingly, this might be the least bold prediction of this list. Brooklyn walks in as the unanimous favorite to win the title, boasting three of the greatest offensive talents we’ve seen with lots of depth behind them.

The only concerns that can potentially derail this march to a ring are injuries, COVID (vaccination status included), and maybe the Lakers or Bucks. Maybe.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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