The 2021 Brooklyn Nets are one of the most talented teams in NBA history with 3 superstar players on one side. Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving have 3 NBA titles, 2 MVPs, and 7 scoring titles between them. Their extraordinary talent places them in the Hall of Fame immediately, and they should be leading the Nets to the NBA Finals following the 2022 season.
But are the 2021 Nets more talented than the 2013 Miami Heat team that won their second straight NBA championship? The Heat had arguably the best version of LeBron James on the roster along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh who were both All-Stars. This superteam going to battle against the 2021 Brooklyn Nets in a 7-game series would be an exciting showdown for the ages. Here is which team will come out on top.
Mario Chalmers vs. Kyrie Irving
Mario Chalmers deserves his credit for holding down the point guard spot for the Heat and being a stout defender over his career. But he is at a clear disadvantage against Kyrie Irving, one of the best ball-handlers of all time. Irving will likely have the advantage in this matchup to give Brooklyn a big advantage.
Chalmers does his best at bothering Kyrie and will be available to hit shots when open. But Irving creates offense anytime he wants, and no defender has a chance to stay with the All-Star when he is rolling. Expect Irving to come out guns blazing against Chalmers early on in the series.
Dwyane Wade vs. James Harden
This matchup is highly anticipated because both players will go down as 2 of the top-5 shooting guards that ever lived when it is all said and done. Wade is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best two-way shooting guards of all time, so he will be a more dominant defender than his counterpart.
But Harden is unstoppable on offense, even if a superstar defensive player like Wade is checking him. James is a built 6’5” guard who can shoot, attack the rim, and play primary point guard. Harden is also in his prime while Wade was not quite the same player he used to be in 2013. Overall, this is a very even matchup although Wade will provide just enough on defense to be effective.
Ray Allen vs. Joe Harris
In a matchup between two sharpshooters, both players will be responsible for playing off of their superstar teammates and trying to remain consistent on offense. Ray Allen has a Hall of Fame pedigree and will have more pressure to perform than Joe Harris. In a typical fashion, Allen will knock down his shots whenever he is open and be a clutch option in late-game situations.
Joe Harris does not have the status that Allen holds as a player, but will be tasked with knocking down shots whenever he is open. Harris shoots a career 43.8% from three, so that jumper will come to use whenever Durant, Harden, and Irving are double-teamed when penetrating the paint.
LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant
At the power forward position, the two best players on the court go toe-to-toe. LeBron is the best all-around player on the floor and will handle playmaking responsibilities along with the other burdens The King normally carries. James will do his best at being the best player on the court, something he normally is.
Kevin Durant will match James on offense, taking shots and trying to be the main man on a stacked Brooklyn squad. Expect both stars to average around 30 PPG and pull down 8 RPG, although Durant will shoot a better percentage from the free-throw line and from three. This matchup will ultimately decide which team comes out on top in the end.
Chris Bosh vs. Blake Griffin
It is very likely the Nets will go small to match up with Chris Bosh down low and will start Blake Griffin at center. Griffin is past his prime, but can still hit the outside shot and is a terrific passer out of the post. He will also be required to defend the mobile Chris Bosh, a bonafide All-Star.
Bosh can score from anywhere and even though he was limited in touches, he can be a factor on both ends of the floor. Bosh played tremendously well with James and Wade, and his versatile skill set will once again give Miami a key advantage on the court.
Norris Cole, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Udonis Haslem, Chris Anderson, Joel Anthony
Patty Mills, Jevon Carter, DeAndre’ Bembry, Bruce Brown, Paul Millsap, Sekou Doumbouya, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Claxton
The key off the bench for both teams is the outside shooting, because of the immense superstar talent on the court. The Heat relied heavily on Shane Battier and Mike Miller to make big three-point shots to helps them win games in 2013, and they will be sorely needed again. Otherwise, Norris Cole and Chris Anderson will provide valuable minutes to backup Chalmers and Bosh respectively.
Brooklyn will need the shooting of Patty Mills but have an edge off the bench because of multiple bigs who can play well alongside their superstars. Millsap and Aldridge were both All-Stars in the past but will be reserved to 5-minute spurts off the bench. Claxton is a young and athletic big man who will also be required to produce in spurts when needed, while Bruce Brown is the lockdown defender who will likely play the most minutes off the bench.
Miami Heat Advantage
The Heat have the best player on the court, despite Kevin Durant suiting up on the other end. LeBron James was at his best with Miami in terms of physical dominance, skills, and mental fortitude. James got over his Finals demons from 2011 and made sure he dominated every game he played in, as the NBA’s villain. Not to mention, he played on a team built on defense.
The Heat have great defenders with LeBron James guarding 4 positions and Dwyane Wade shutting down shooting guards. Chris Bosh, despite being a rather slim big man, was a very good defender at the rim. Mario Chalmers was the 4th or 5th option on offense but his defensive abilities were above-average, while Chris Anderson provided length and rebounding around the rim. The Heat are a better defensive team than Brooklyn, a massive advantage for them.
Brooklyn Nets Advantage
The Nets do not have the defensive capabilities of the Miami Heat, but they can match their offense and possibly usurp them. As great as LeBron James is as an all-around player, Kevin Durant is a better scorer. He will be a handful to defend against and will be a much more formidable opponent than the 2012 version that LeBron dominated. Not to mention, Durant has help.
James Harden is a 3-time scoring champion and one of the best offensive players ever, so he will place a ton of pressure on Wade and Chalmers. Kyrie Irving is also an offensive machine, and he will form a dynamic trio on offense that Miami never truly faced before. Adding in Joe Harris, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge; Brooklyn has a very strong offensive team that can win games by points on the board alone.
Which Team Wins A Best-Of-7?
This series will go 7 games, mainly because players on both sides have tendencies to get hot to win games. Game 1 will go to Brooklyn, as the Big Three drop a combined 78 points to blitz Miami in a 120-105 victory. Miami was not ready for this type of offense and will be forced into a quick adjustment.
With LeBron, Wade, and Chalmers focusing on defense; they only give up 30 points and 10 assists to Harden as Durant and Irving struggle. The Heat find their groove, winning 108-100 in Game 2. Game 3 is all about Dwyane Wade, who comes alive and drops 32 points including a later And-1 to give Miami a 5-point lead with one possession left which Brooklyn cannot capitalize on.
The Big Three shines again, although a sore ankle left LeBron James hobbled after a collision with Blake Griffin. This gives the Nets enough space to clear out a convincing 110-102 victory in Game 4. With the series tied, the next two games are split with James and Durant going off during their team’s wins. LeBron notches a triple-double in Game 5, Durant scores 40 in Game 6 to force a Game 7.
The two superstars are going toe-to-toe and it is obvious one of them will go home with Finals MVP when it is all said and done. Game 7 is a tight one, going into overtime. Both squads are equally impressive on both ends of the floor, although a big difference in overtime is the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade connection.
Durant scores 8 points in OT, but LeBron and Wade combine for 10 points. LeBron captures a miss from Kyrie with 8 seconds left, and launches a pass to Wade who is fouled by Harden with 2 seconds on the clock. In typical Wade fashion, he drills both to give Brooklyn a chance to tie or win on a three. In a nailbiter, Durant launches a 35-foot jumper over a double-team that just rims out to give LeBron and company a 2-point victory.
Result: Miami Heat vs. Brooklyn Nets 4-3
Finals MVP: LeBron James