The Brooklyn Nets are fading fast with superstar Kevin Durant sidelined at least another two weeks and with Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons in and out of the lineup due to injury maintenance. Brooklyn lost Durant to an isolated MCL sprain in his right knee in what turned out to be a win over Miami on January 8. To that point, the Nets were eyeing a matchup with the defending Eastern Conference Champion Celtics on January 12, with a chance to win and take over first place in the conference and secure the NBA's best record. Three straight defeats later and with Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Cleveland all gaining ground, the Nets now sit in a virtual tie for fourth place in the East. How quickly things change in the NBA landscape. But with a little creative manuevering on the part of Sean Marks, the Nets can recharge and stop the sinking ship without Durant shouldering the scoring load. Unfortunately, after multiple ankle surgeries, Joe Harris' mobility is not where it once was and his shot making from 3-point range has been erratic this year. Patty Mills has been a consummate professional and locker room leader, but he's been relegated to reserve minutes if he even cracks into Vaughn's rotation. As for the Nets second-year guard Cam Thomas, he's a lethal scorer, but his defense, playmaking and overall awarness leave quite a bit to be desired at this point in his young career. Now the Nets have been burned by Danny Ainge before while he was in Boston managing the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry trade, so while Utah's GM may push for additional picks, the following makes sense for both clubs. With his team struggling to find an identity and its way without Durant, Marks will need to be active ahead of the trade deadline if he hopes to contend with the top clubs in the East.
Players and coaches lie, but stats don't. So while the Nets are 10-1 over their last 11 games and Kevin Durant is playing at an MVP-level, Brooklyn has been most impressive when the stakes are highest. The Nets are tops in the league in clutch winning percentage, which is defined as games that are within 5 points inside of five minutes. 

Brooklyn's last two wins came in comeback fashion over Toronto and Detroit by overcoming double digit deficits in each contest. l  


The Nets are winning, not whining. It's a sharp departure from all of the noise, hoopla, controversy and dysfunction that has plaugued the team the last few seasons.

 Brooklyn welcomes the defending champs into Barclays Center on Wednesday where the club can secure its 20th win of the season.

 They are within striking distance of both Boston and Milwaukee atop the Eastern Conference.

 

 
  Photo by Doug Bearak

So far both Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are building strong cases to garner MVP consideration.

The Nets and Warriors have vastly underwhelmed so far this year despite their respective stars doing everything in their power to turn the tide.



Brooklyn already parted ways with head coach Steve Nash, suspended Kyrie Irving for promoting a film with anti-semitic tropes, while enduring a summer that include a Durant trade the was ultimately rescinded. 

Throw in offseason back surgery to Ben Simmons and ankle surgeries to sharpshooters Joe Harris and Seth Curry and the Nets have dealt with a world of obstacles.

The defending champs, on the other hand, celebrated a triumphant six game series win over the Celtics, but are showing major signs of a championship hangover.

 The core of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have won four rings together, but at their advanced ages, the championship window is closing fast.

The same can be said for a Nets squad that hasn't been able to get their act together despite Durant's greatness.

There were rumblings this off-season that Durant could rejoin the Warriors squad he spearheaded to two titles, and perhaps both he, the Nets and the Warriors may have been better off if that type of transaction took place this summer.

Fifteen games into the season, the Nets look more like a lottery team than a playoff contender, while the Warriors are one road loss away from setting a new franchise record for consecutive road defeats to start a season. 

For now, enjoy both Curry's and Durant's greatness because the rest of their teammates are not necessarily pulling their weight.




For the first time since tweeting an apology for promoting an anti-semitic film, Kyrie Irving's latest tweet is letting fans know that he'll likely be back on the court sooner than later. Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai set forth six steps that Irving needed to take to be reinstated with the club. Assuming Irving satisfied those requirements, he will be eligible to play after serving is five game suspension.

While the tweet doesn't provide complete clarity, it is the clearest indication to date that there is a path forward for Irving with the Nets.

 

Doug Bearak


The Brooklyn Nets are making it impossible for even their own fan base to tolerate their complete chaos.

Steve Nash and the club mutually agreed to part ways on Tuesday, while former assistant Ime Udoka has been reportedly finalizing a deal with the team.

This comes on the heels of the bombshell report two months ago from the Celtics that Udoka had an consensual relationship with a female employee in Boston. Not many details have emerged from the report, but many believe it's a lot messier and uglier than it looks.

Before the Nets could complete damage control with Kyrie Irving, who took to Twitter and Instagram to promote a film based on a book with anti-semitic tropes, a coaching change was made.

Nash is out, Udoka is reportedly in and Irving is so far off scott free after double down on his support for a film that promotes hate speech.

It's the latest in a Brooklyn fiasco with Irving at the center of it all. In the interim, Jacque Vaughn has been named the interim head coach starting when the Nets host the Bulls Tuesday night.

To make matters worse, Ben Simmons will miss his second straight game after suffering an apparent knee injury. Since Irving and Durant's arrival, the Nets have been without a title and filled with drama, causing more headaches than triumphant moments for fans.

Things have been an on unmitigated disaster since 2019, so can you even blame Nets fans for turning their backs on this laughing stock of a franchise?

 Ben Simmons started off Wednesday night in Milwaukee with an aggressive mindset, but things tapered off in the second half as Giannis Antetokounmpo took matters into his own hands. The Bucks handled the Nets 110-99 behind the Greek Freak's 43 points.

Simmons' lack of offensive aggressiveness and defensive presence was abundantly clear in the contest

In speaking with reporters post game, Simmons revealed a possible reason for why he lost a bit of a physical and mental edge.


 The former Sixer is in his first games back in nearly two years after offseason back surgery. The Nets host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. 

The injury appear to take place in the second quarter as Simmons landed awkwardly, but he stayed in the game and played through the setback. 

It's unclear if the injury is related to his surgically repaired back and while he indicates he plans to play on Thursday night against Dallas, it might behoove the Nets to be extra conservative with him in the early season.

 




 So far, Ben Simmons looks like a player who hasn't played regular season basketball for over a year.

 

The Nets point guard wasn't acquired for his scoring prowess, but his offensive numbers are downright ugly.

Brooklyn was hoping that Simmons' defense, rebounding and playmaking would be a major asset, but on Wednesday night, Giannis Antetokounmpo played bully ball to the tune of 43 points and 14 rebounds as the Nets lost by 11 in Milwaukee.

Head coach Steve Nash was ejected in the third quarter after arguing a defensive foul call on Patty Mills. Simmons' rust and the Nets lack of overall offensive and defensive continuity have them sitting at the bottom of the Eastern conference at 1-3 to start the year.

 


Standing at a record of 1-2,  not all hope is lost for the Brooklyn Nets, but the clock is ticking.

Steve Nash's job security has long been in question, especially after Kevin Durant went directly to owner Joe Tsai to issue an ultimatum: fire Nash and Sean Marks or trade me.

After the dust settled, neither outcome transpired with Durant returning to the fold with the current regime, yet the Nets are doing more losing than winning in the early season.

The reality is this Nets team is held together by a thread. That common thread is trying to win a championship and three games in is not exactly a barometer of where this team will be come June. 

But if things don't start trending in the right direction and quickly look for Steve Nash to continue to be on the hot seat.

Brooklyn faces as toughest test yet on Wednesday night as it takes on the Milwaukee Bucks.

 



Three games into the season the Brooklyn Nets sit at 1-2 with a lot left to be desired by their fan base.



The Nets allowed 130 points in a lopsided opening night home loss to New Orleans only to bounce back with a strong 109-105 win over Toronto last Friday night. Brooklyn's defensive deficiencies reared its ugly head again on Monday in Memphis as the Grizzles poured in 134 enroute to a 10-point win.

First year point guard Ben Simmons has fouled out in both the team's losses, while the offense has looked discombobulated with a rusty Simmons trying to find his niche.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Nets season has been the lack of defensive connectivity as opponents are scoring at will.

The Nets face perhaps their stiffest challenge yet as they tangle with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

As Brooklyn aims to climb back in the win column, attention to detail and defense will go a long way and determining how far the Nets go this season. 


photo by Doug Bearak 



 The Nets had a successful Practice-in-the-Park session on Monday with a record of over 8,000 fans looking to catch a glimpse or a free t-shirt from their favorite player.


While the festivities appeared to be enjoyed by all, one fan video went viral as it caught Ben Simmons jacking up a haphazard jump shot that failed to catch iron.



 This drew more than a few snickers from Nets detractors and Simmons haters as Brooklyn's point guard looks to refine his less than stellar shooting stroke.

Head coach Steve Nash already told reporters this preseason that he won't need Simmons to shoot jumpers as his primary roles will be defending, rebounding and facilitating to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the team's prolific scorers.

While Simmons' shooting deficiencies will draw laughs from the masses, the real concern after two preseason games is his lack of explosiveness after off-season back surgery and his mounting turnovers as he tries to get acclimated with his new teammates.




Nets fans aren't panicking just yet, but maybe they should be. 

After committing 26 turnovers and looking disjointed for a second straight outing in the preseason, Brooklyn looks to have more than a few kinks to work out ahead of the start of the regular season. 

 The Nets were outplayed in every facet by a Miami club that brought defensive physicality and sharp execution to the tune of a 109-80  drubbing.

Kevin Durant finished with 22 points and 4 rebounds, Ben Simmons 4 points, 4 assists, 10 rebounds and 6 careless turnovers. 

 Kyrie Irving sat out Thursday's contest, so Brooklyn was basically noncompetitive from the opening tip. Steve Nash has shifted away from isolation basketball to a more team centric approach predicated on ball movement and man movement. 

 Theoretically, this is the best adjustment the Nets can make, but through two preseason games a lot more has gone wrong than has gone right with the regular season opener less than two weeks away.
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