The Nets rebuilding stage has taken years, but this is finally the year the Nets have a great shot of winning a championship. Just like any other team, however, the Nets are not perfect. For the Nets to reach their goal of making the finals, they have some issues they need to address.
Issue Number 1: Consistency/Effort
The Nets, as a whole, need to be more consistent. Over the past few weeks, the Nets have been very inconsistent. For example, the Nets took two bad losses at the hands of the Wizards and Pistons. However, Brooklyn also beat one of the best teams in the NBA, the Clippers. Brooklyn also played one of their best halves of basketball they have played this season in a win against the Pacers. The Nets have been playing down to their competition this season. No matter the opponent, the Nets need to come out of the gates with the same amount of urgency, energy, and effort.
As far as players, DeAndre Jordan especially needs to step up and consistently be the player he was against the Pacers. In that game, he led all players in minutes with 37. Jordan had 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks. This was by far Jordan’s best game of the season. As a small team, this is the kind of performance the Nets need from Jordan every single game.
Issue Number 2: Rebounding/Defense
Brooklyn is currently ranked 28th in the NBA in opponent’s points per game, allowing 117.7 points per game. For a team with championship aspirations, this is a problem. The Nets have shown that they can defend at a high level in spurts, such as the first half in the Pacers game where they only allowed 30 points. The Nets have players who can lockdown, such as Bruce Brown and Kevin Durant. However, the Nets cannot defend their opponent with one or two guys, as it needs to be a team effort. The aforementioned Jordan must consistently play like the DeAndre Jordan of old, Kyrie Irving must have more effort on defense, and James Harden and Joe Harris need to not get lost on defensive sets.
As far as rebounding, due to Brooklyn’s lack of a solid big man, the Nets are not the best rebounding team. In the first half of the game against the Pacers, a team with two solid big men Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, Harden and Jordan outrebounded the whole Pacers team. That is the kind of rebounding the Nets need to achieve every game. Give the Nets some time and the defense and rebounding will steadily improve.
Issue Number 3: Staying Healthy/Staying on the Court
This season, injuries, Covid 19, and personal reasons have been the Nets Achilles heel. Durant has sat out 9 games due to health and safety protocols. Similarly, Irving has also sat out 111 games due to personal reasons and nagging injuries. Since acquiring Harden on January 14, the Nets have played 16 games. The Nets’ big 3 of Harden, Durant, and Irving have played only 6 full games together. In those 6 games, Brooklyn has gone 5-1, with wins over the Heat, Hawks, Clippers, and Warriors.
In conclusion, the Nets need to have an injury and Covid free team for the remainder of the season to get better chemistry and more experience playing with each other, and this will only help the Nets in their championship run.