Championship Odds: +15000
Caris LeVert: 17.7 PTS, 4.1 REB, 4.1 AST, 1.1 STL
Joe Harris: 13.9 PTS, 4.3 REB, 2.1 AST, 0.6 STL
Jarrett Allen: 10.6 PTS, 9.5 REB, 1.3 AST, 0.6 STL
Garrett Temple: 10.3 PTS, 3.5 REB, 2.6 AST, 0.8 STL
Players Sitting Out
Kevin Durant: *Did not play this season*
Kyrie Irving: 27.4 PTS, 5.2 REB, 6.4 AST, 1.4 STL
Spencer Dinwiddie: 20.6 PTS, 3.5 REB, 6.8 AST, 0.6 STL
DeAndre Jordan: 8.3 PTS, 10 REB, 1.9 AST, 0.3 STL
Taurean Prince: 12.1 PTS, 6 REB, 1.8 AST, 0.9 STL
Wilson Chandler: 5.9 PTS, 4.1 REB, 1.1 AST, 0.5 STL
Nic Claxton: 4.4 PTS, 2.9 REB, 1.1 AST, 0.1 STL
|7/31||Orlando Magic||2:30 PM||YES Network|
|8/2||Washington Wizards||2:00 PM||YES Network|
|8/4||Milwaukee Bucks||1:30 PM||NBA TV|
|8/5||Boston Celtics||9:00 PM||ESPN|
|8/7||Sacramento Kings||5:00 PM||YES Network|
|8/9||Los Angeles Clippers||9:00 PM||NBA TV|
|8/11||Orlando Magic||1:00 PM||YES Network|
|8/13||Portland Trailblazers||TBD||YES Network|
As you saw above, the Nets are heading down to Orlando without a good chunk of their team. At full strength, Brooklyn has the talent to match up with any team in the NBA and there’s no doubt they would’ve been a championship contender. However, with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and many other Nets players announcing that they won’t be playing in the bubble, Brooklyn’s trip to the Orlando doesn’t bring the anticipation and excitement that Nets fans were hoping for.
With that being said, the Nets are by no means playing without a purpose. Although they might not be competing for a championship like they would’ve hoped, Brooklyn still has a talented group of young players that are eager to make a name for themselves.
With their two leading scorers sitting out in Kyrie Irving (27.4 PPG) and Spencer Dinwiddie (20.6 PPG), there will be ample opportunity for other players to step into a bigger role offensively. Look for Caris LeVert to really break out in the bubble. He is already averaging a solid 17.7 PPG and with both Irving and Dinwiddie out, it is likely that even more of the scoring load will be put on his shoulders. On top of that, Jacque Vaughn, the Nets’ interim coach, has said that he’s been impressed with LeVert’s leadership and he plans on seeing what he can do at the point guard position. It seems as though Vaughn is using the lack of star power on his bubble roster to try and turn LeVert into a star in his own right. If he proves that he’s able to handle this enhanced role, people around the league will start to look at him a different way.
There is also a good chance we’ll see Joe Harris take on a much bigger role for the Nets in the bubble. Harris is obviously a phenomenal shooter who has a great three point percentage (41.2%), but he will now have other responsibilities that include more than just standing on the perimeter and knocking down three pointers. From an offensive standpoint, with a lack of scoring threats aside from LeVert, it is possible that we will see Harris try to expand his offensive repertoire, and hopefully he will turn himself into a player that can score at all three levels. Defensively, with Wilson Chandler and Taurean Prince out, Harris will have much harder assignments where he will have to guard power forwards who are bigger and more athletic than him. Harris will inevitably struggle at certain times with this expanded role, but leaving his comfort zone will only benefit him the long run.
It shouldn’t go unnoticed that the Nets signed Michael Beasley and Jamal Crawford, two NBA veterans who should give them a decent scoring punch while such a large amount of the team’s core is sitting out. The experience that Beasley and Crawford have will also give the young Nets some veteran leadership which could prove to be vital in this unprecedented situation.
While most Nets fans are probably already looking ahead to next season, they should realize that the remainder of this season is still very important for Brooklyn. Do they have any chance to go far in the playoffs? No. However, if players like LeVert and Harris develop and improve their game while in the bubble, the 2020-21 Nets, who will be a legit championship contender, can become even better. The development that the Nets potentially make in the bubble will pave the way for success next year and beyond.