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Gary Payton Says 2021 Brooklyn Nets Not Comparable To 2004 Los Angeles Lakers: "Rules Have Changed. We Don't Play Defense The Same Way And We Don't Play A Lot Of Things The Same Way. It's All Different."

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(via NBA.com)

(via NBA.com)

The 2021 Brooklyn Nets are clearly a great team, that has some of the top talents in the league. A team with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant is already a contender, and adding James Harden to the roster only pushed them further up the ladder, and made them the favorites. The superteam in Brooklyn is one of the biggest team-ups in recent NBA history, but it is far from the first.

Superteams have existed throughout history, and players wanting to switch rosters is nothing new. A superteam that the Brooklyn Nets have been compared to was the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers, who added free agents Gary Payton and Karl Malone to a core which included Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. While they didn't win a title, that is still a prominent team-up that happened prior to superteams becoming the mainstream as they are today.

One can draw some similarities between the 2004 Lakers and the 2021 Brooklyn Nets, such as the accumulation of talent. While there are some parallels, there are also some key differences. Recently, Gary Payton has stated that you can't compare the two teams due to the rule changes that have happened, and due to the different eras of basketball that the two teams played in.

The two teams are certainly different. The Nets' superstars are all in their prime, while Karl Malon and Gary Payton made their way to the Lakers when they were older veterans. On top of that, Payton's assessment is correct: it is difficult to compare teams when the rules aren't even the same anymore. Every sport evolves, and basketball is no different. The modern era is certainly more offense-oriented, which definitely plays into the Nets' talents. The 2021 Brooklyn Nets are the favorites for the title: let's just hope they don't fall short like the Lakers in 2004.