By: Gus Wilson
The Brooklyn Nets were just swept in the first round of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Playoffs by the Boston Celtics. At the beginning of the season, the Nets were the NBA Finals favorites according to Caesar’s Sportsbook with superstars such as James 3Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. What happened to this “super-team”?
The trio had a combined two NBA MVPs, three NBA Championships, and 29 NBA All-Star appearances. Although they have three of some of the best players in the entire NBA, they all struggled with injuries. The three stars only played 16 games together since they traded for James Harden from the Houston Rockets. While they were plagued by injuries, many NBA fans saw the Nets as unstoppable and the eventual champions. In the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Nets were upset in the 2nd round in a seven-game series against the eventual NBA Champions Milwaukee Bucks. While Harden did not play most of the series with an injury, they were inches away from making the Conference Finals as Kevin Durant’s foot was just over the line on one of the final shots of the game. Even after a second-round exit, the Nets were still a favorite to win the NBA Finals in 2022.
At one point in the 2022 regular season, the Nets had a losing record and were struggling to pick up wins. From January 23rd to February 12th, they lost 11 straight games and went 2-12 since January 15th. Rumors began to surface that James Harden was upset with Brooklyn and there was tension between himself and Durant. At the 20222 trade deadline, the Nets made the biggest move of the season, trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond, along with draft picks. The trio was now broken up and replaced with Simmons, who hadn’t appeared in a game for the 76ers all year. This trade seemed to benefit the 76ers much more than the Nets, as Philadelphia finished as the third seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Nets struggled but won in the Play-In Tournament to be the seventh seed. In the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets were the first team to be eliminated, with Kevin Durant struggling in all four games and Ben Simmons not appearing in a single one.
The future of Brooklyn is cloudier than ever but with top-tier talent still on the roster, the Nets can revamp during the off-season and come back with a vengeance for the 2022-2023 NBA season.