This year, the Brooklyn Nets are the favorites for the NBA title, even with the Lakers’ acquisition of superstar Russell Westbrook. Brooklyn did very well last year despite having zero team chemistry, finishing second in the Eastern Conference, and making it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
Kevin Durant played like an MVP in the offseason averaging 34.3 PPG and 9.3 RPG and carrying the team without James Harden and Kyrie Irving on the floor. This upcoming season, things will be a lot different. We all know the Nets have incredible talent, but there are many more reasons why Brooklyn will lift the championship trophy at the end of the season. Without further ado, here are the 10 major reasons the Brooklyn Nets will win the Eastern Conference and complete a sensational Finals run in 2022.
10. Brooklyn Got Better This Offseason
The Brooklyn Nets actually managed to get better than they already are. They signed veteran point guard Patty Mills, a critical role player for the San Antonio Spurs’ title run in 2014. Mills is 33 years old, but can still light it up from three (37.5%) and had a fantastic Olympics with the Australian National Team. Next to Brooklyn’s superstars, Mills will have a field day off the bench.
Otherwise, the Nets re-signed Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown who will be more comfortable with their team and ready to be valuable contributors. Blake Griffin has All-Star intangibles despite losing his athleticism and is a terrific passer for a talented Brooklyn team. Brown plays defense, hustles, and will be a key perimeter defender so bringing him back was crucial. Otherwise, veteran James Johnson adds defense and will do a great job replacing Jeff Green and adding to Brooklyn’s depth.
9. Kyrie Irving Wants And Needs His Second Ring
Kyrie Irving is aware of the world’s social issues, but he is also aware of what is being said about him. Whether it is his inability to remain on the floor consistently or even his questionable leadership abilities, Irving is very aware that many doubt his legacy. While Irving is a 7-time All-Star, former NBA champion, and future Hall of Famer; a player of his greatness wants more respect on his name.
Expect Irving to hover around his 26.9 PPG average from last year and have the legs under him to play significant minutes. Kyrie is the best ball-handler in the NBA right now, and having a season under his belt with his new teammates will do him wonders on and off the floor. A healthy and motivated Kyrie Irving is scary, and he will be back.
8. Steve Nash Has A Year Under His Belt As A Coach
Steve Nash did very well last year, leading a Brooklyn team to the 2nd seed in the East in his first season. While he is fortunate to have some of the best players in the world on his side, Nash had to manage egos and make sure the Nets were prepared for a long season. He did just that, and Brooklyn were the favorite for the NBA championship before injuries derailed their season.
Nash found some key role players in his rotation including Bruce Brown who was able to play off the superstars. Brooklyn's head coach now has a full season as a coach under his belt, and experience coaching the best players in the league. Nash knows how to keep his guys healthy and how to push their buttons better, so the Nets will be war-ready from the start of the season.
7. Motivation Is At An All-Time High
The way Brooklyn ended the season went against the script. Kevin Durant was an MVP candidate, but Covid related DNP's ruined his chances of an even greater season. James Harden then started playing like an MVP, but he had his own inconsistencies with health. Kyrie Irving, well, no one really knew what was going on with him.
But losing in the second round of the playoffs in Game 7 hurt. The Nets are the best team in the NBA on paper, but they never got to show what they could do full health in the playoffs. In 2022, the Nets will want to blow all teams away and prove they are the greatest team in NBA history. In terms of talent, it is hard to argue that.
6. The East Is Brooklyn’s For The Taking
The Milwaukee Bucks completed an amazing season, winning the NBA championship behind their superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. But if Brooklyn was healthy in their series, without disrespect to the Bucks, Milwaukee would have fired their coach and Giannis would continue to face rumors about his exit after their loss. The Eastern Conference is Brooklyn's for the taking, as long as their Big Three remains healthy for at least the majority of the season.
The Bucks are right there, but they will not be as consistent as the Nets can be on offense. The Hawks are a solid team, but Kevin Durant is the best player on the floor. Otherwise, the Knicks and Heat need to build their chemistry. The Miami Heat are once again a dark horse for the number one seed, but Brooklyn should finish 1st in the East in a good position to reach the NBA Finals.
5. James Harden Will Likely Be Healthy Again
Other than Kevin Durant, no player strikes fear in opposing coaches' hearts like James Harden. The Beard is completely unstoppable, and even in a season filled with inconsistencies, he averaged 24.6 PPG and 10.8 APG. Harden also had plenty of time to rehab his injuries following an early playoff exit and will move past his 2021 season that revolved around his forced exit from Houston.
Harden is a Brooklyn Net and should be for the long-term future as the team is negotiating an extension. With his focus locked in on the season and a Finals appearance his for the taking, we might see another season of an MVP-quality James Harden.
4. The Bucks, Jazz, Nuggets, And Suns Are Not As Talented
Talent wins games and wins championships. Even the best coaches of all time can't get it done without the best players, and dynasties are built off the skills of superstar players. That is why, when health is guaranteed, the most talented teams get the job done. The most recent example is the Golden State Warriors, who had the most talent and made 4 straight Finals.
When looking at the rest of the contenders in the league, none come close to the talent of the Nets. The Bucks are reigning NBA champions and should be respected, but it was 3 vs. 1 against the Nets when Kyrie and Harden missed the majority of the series. Had the Nets played at full health, the Bucks do not win the championship.
The Suns are still quite young and Chris Paul will be 37 next year. The Jazz and Nuggets have superstar players in Donovan Mitchell and Nikola Jokic respectively, but neither come close to the top-5 player in the world talents of Durant and Harden. Finally, the Clippers are without Kawhi Leonard for the majority of the season. The best record in the NBA is Brooklyn's for the taking.
3. The Lakers Will Need Time To Build Their Chemistry
The single biggest threat to the Brooklyn Nets are the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have their Big Three intact after the acquisition of Russell Westbrook, and their depth is ridiculously great. Signing Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard for cheap deals makes the Lakers the best team in the Western Conference by quite a margin.
But the Lakers need time to build their chemistry because adding a ball-dominant superstar like Russell Westbrook is never easy. Westbrook is used to making the bulk of the decisions for the teams he plays on and playing off-ball did not work too well in Houston. While Westbrook will benefit from playing with the talents of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, there will be a learning curve. Meanwhile, the Nets have a full season together under their belts and will be clicking on all cylinders earlier than the Lakers.
2. Brooklyn Has The Best Big Three Ever
Brooklyn have the most talented Big Three in NBA history, so it is only reasonable that the Nets win the title. Kevin Durant (more on him next) is a special player and had a chance to cement himself as one of the greats to ever do it. James Harden was being considered the best isolation scorer in NBA history just one season ago, while Kyrie Irving is the greatest ball-handler we have ever seen.
This Brooklyn team can be extremely dominant and each one of their Big Three can be the scoring leader in any game. The Lakers Big Three is also great, but they don't fit as Brooklyn's do. Durant can play with any player in any era, Harden can play primary point guard, and Kyrie can be the designated hitter when needed. The Nets have no weakness on offense while the Lakers don't compare in outside shooting. But the key to Brooklyn's Big Three is Kevin Durant, the best player in the world.
1. Kevin Durant Is The Best Player In The World
The main reason the Nets will win the championship is that Kevin Durant is the best player in the world. He proved it in the postseason by almost leading an average Nets squad (without Harden and Irving) past the NBA champion Bucks, and proved it again in the Olympics. Team USA would have likely not made it out of the preliminary stage if Durant was not on the team.
Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich said it himself, he would have begged and cried to make sure Durant plays for his country. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a historic run this postseason and he deserves credit for that, but Kevin Durant is a more complete offensive player and will lead his Brooklyn Nets superteam to the promised land at the end of the year.
Early 2022 NBA Award Predictions: Kevin Durant Wins His Second MVP, Jalen Green Is Rookie of the Year