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.
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