This Nets season will be an adventure.
Kevin Durant, who had a burner scandal and remains very online, grew unhappy while winning with the Warriors and is an all-time great player
Kyrie Irving, who insisted he believed the Earth is flat amid other strange public statements, repeatedly failed to mesh with teammates (including LeBron James), goes his own way for better or worse and is so unbelievably talented
DeAndre Jordan, whose friendship with Durant and Irving can’t be overlooked when Jordan is starting over up-and-comer Jarrett Allen
Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Allen – relatively young players looking for paydays and who’d be prime chips in a trade for a third star, James Harden or otherwise
Steve Nash, a head coach with no prior coaching experience and a big reputation from his Hall of Fame playing career
Legitimate championship aspirations
A floor way lower than that
The Nets could carve up opponents, carve up each other or both. There are so many jagged edges in this mix.
But nothing smooths potential rough spots like good outside shooting. Good outside shooting creates space. Good outside shooting promotes ball movement. Good outside shooting gives everyone room to operate.
Brooklyn got a couple good outside shooters, re-signing wing Joe Harris and trading for shooting guard Landry Shamet.
Harris’ four-year, $72 million contract is quite expensive. Add the resulting luxury tax, and Nets owner Joe Tsai deserves commendation for paying up. Harris is one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters and holds up defensively. He perfectly complement stars (like Durant and Irving). With Harris’ Bird Rights but no cap space even if he left, Brooklyn had precisely one way to get a player anywhere near this good – paying Harris.
The Nets also traded the No. 19 pick for Shamet in a three-way trade with the Clippers and Pistons. Shamet is also adept at coming off screens, and his release is lightning quick from beyond the arc. Brooklyn could’ve instead gotten Luke Kennard (who went to L.A. in the deal), but with Durant, Irving, LeVert and Dinwiddie, the Nets didn’t need Kennard’s playmaking. With two relatively cheap years remaining rather than Kennard’s one, Shamet – more of a specialist – was just fine.
Brooklyn acquired defensive specialist guard Bruce Brown from Detroit for a second-rounder. Though not a shooter himself, he hounds opponents on the perimeter.
Jeff Green (one year, minimum) looks like a savvy signing – if the Nets play him at center. That’s where he has made the most positive contributions late in his career, in part because that’s where he’s a plus shooter.
The Nets made their big splash last year. More than anything, they just had to wait for Durant and Irving to get healthy – and hope everything meshes.
There will probably be significant dilemmas that emerge throughout the season.
But by getting a surplus of outside shooting (and a couple other potentially helpful role players), Brooklyn gives itself a better chance of succeeding.