Showing posts with label gaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gaming. Show all posts
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for promoting a film with anti-semitic tropes, while enduring a summer that include a Durant trade the was ultimately rescinded.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.

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.

 

Photo by Andrew Bernstein

Photo by Andrew Bernstein

Some interesting news has been trickling out of the NBA commoner's office this week as the league may consider expanding into additional cities in the near future.

The Supersonics, who were stationed in Seattle from 1967-2008, could see a revival along with adding a club in the hottest growing market in the country in Las Vegas. 


With both cities being located in the Western market, a realignment of divisions would be in order to create even teams in both conferences.

LeBron James has thrown his hat in the ring and called for dibs on a potential Vegas club, while Adam Silver insists that the expansion still is years away.

The question many fans are wondering that followed the Nets in the Garden State is: what about New Jersey?

The Nets, who were founded in 1967 as the New Jersey Americans and played at the Teaneck Armory, spent one season there before moving to Long Island as the rebranded Nets starting in 1968.



The Nets then returned to Jersey in 1977, where they remained for the next 35 years until the move to Brooklyn in 2012.

The Nets had trouble drawing fans when stationed at the Meadowlands due to a lack of public transportation and area attractions in the swamp. The now -defunct Xanadu project lost funding during the Nets stay at the then-IZOD Center as it sat for years half-developed as an eyesore.

Now, the American Dream mall has been built with countless activities, along with a transit line to send fans to and from Secaucus Junction. All the infrastructure and amenities the Nets were hoping for during their stay in East Rutherford are now up and running.

The IZOD Center is still standing, even though it's not used for concerts or sporting events, just merely, filming for television and movies.

The reality is all the pieces are in place for New Jersey to make a bid for another team in the future. 

The question will remain if the politicians in office, lobbyists and pubic at large will make enough waves and show enough support to get the NBA and Silver's attention. A return of NBA basketball to the Garden State is viable, and a renaissance in the swamp is what many basketball diehards are rooting for and hoping for in the near future.



 


Without making any excuses for Steve Nash, who is entering his third year as Nets head coach, injuries, vaccine compliance and players in and out of the lineup have all been commonplace in Brooklyn since his arrival.

Brooklyn will need to find a happy medium  where it can manage its stars minutes, but build enough cohesion as an overall unit to form a powerful team.

Durant was overtaxed last season without Kyrie Irving for large chunks of the year and then James Harden after he jetted out of town.

The 34 year old Durant will need enough run with new teammates, but enough rest to stay fresh for a playoff push.

 Irving has also shown to be an injury prone player and was a shell of his former self in the playoffs when conditioning and fatigue impacted his performance beyond the play-in game and Game 1 against the Celtics.

The delicate balance will be a challenge for Nash as he'll also have a trio of veterans rehabbing their respective injuries in Joe Harris, Seth Curry and T.J. Warren.

Brooklyn may need to play deep into their bench in the early season until the big guns are fully healthy.

So while Nets fans want to see the fully healthy and committed version of this club playing day in and day out, Nash and Marks will certainly keep an eye on the biggest picture, that being keeping his stars healthy, but conditioned enough to compete for a championship come playoff time.



Photo by Doug Bearak


 Not much can be gleaned from NBA preseason action, unless of course certain things are completely egregious.

Tuesday night's 127-108 loss against the majority of Philadelphia's backups falls into the latter category.

With James Harden and Joel Embiid watching in street clothes, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and a cast of reserves severely outplayed Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Joe Harris and Nic Claxton in the first quarter.



After going down 42-26 at the end of the first frame, Brooklyn showed some life in the second quarter, but a disjointed offense and lack of close-outs on defense put the Nets in a massive early hole they couldn't overcome.

The only flashes on brilliance came during the times the Nets were able to get defensive stops to produce easy transition points. 

But as far as half court offense and defensive rotations are concerned, Steve Nash's fingerprints were absent from the on-court product.

There have already been rumblings about Nash's job security this season and if the team continues this trend in the preseason and into the regular season, changes could be coming sooner than later in Brooklyn.

Durant's trade request this past June was made in part based on Nash's decision-making last season, Sean Marks' roster maneuvering and the overall trajectory of the franchise. Things cannot continue to go down this course because if they do, either Nash will be on the chopping block or Durant may ask out yet again.


Ben Simmons looked like a guy who hadn't played in an NBA game since June 20, 2021, when he took the floor on Monday night opposing his old squad, Philadelphia. With no Harden or Embid on the floor, the Sixers outscored the Nets 42-26 in opening quarter. Simmons was active on the boards and a willing passer, but misfired on both his free throw attempts and missed all his shot attempts outside the paint. The results were pretty much as expected for a player who has struggled to hit shots consistently from the field, but makes plays for others. 

 All told, the Nets were outplayed by Sixers reserves, but Simmons was able to shake off the rust as Brooklyn narrowed the gap to three points by halftime. 

 Head coach Steve Nash indicated that he won't need Simmons to shoot from the perimeter or do anything outside his comfort zone as the Nets have several prolific scorers on the roster to power their offense.

 Be careful what you tweet about Kevin Durant because he might just reply and roast you in front of a massive audience.

The Nets superstar took aim at a few random Twitter accounts nitpicking his place among NBA greats.


The chatter didn't stop there as Durant made a point of putting mere mortals in their rightful place yet again.


Durant is notorious for mixing it up with trolling fans on Twitter and while the Nets' leader is a surefire Hall of Famer, he's not all that thin-skinned when it comes to criticism.

As a public figure in the most esteemed basketball league in the planet, criticism is part of the job description. 


Durant can push back on all the casuals as much as he wants, but his play and the Nets' performance this year is the only thing that will ultimately impact his legacy.

 

 Kevin Durant is undoubtedly an all-time NBA great. So how could arguably the league's best player be ranked outside the top five players in the league?

That's the question that many were asking themselves when ESPN ranked the top 10 players in the NBA. 



 

Citing the two months he missed last season and the trade request he ultimately rescinded this off season as the main culprits for Durant plummeting down the list, even the most unreasonable Durant haters can't defend this ranking.

Yes, he's turning 34 and there has absolutely been turmoil in Brooklyn this summer, but his peak talents are undeniable.

With Ben Simmons now in the fold to distribute and create easy scoring opportunities both in the half court and transition for Durant, his scoring prowess will be on full display.

You can be sure that Durant will be keeping receipts on those who have doubted him and knocked him off the top 5 list.

Preseason play is two weeks away, but until the regular season gets underway, Durant win just need to let this criticism fuel him for the upcoming campaign.


The writing is on the wall that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving might be playing elsewhere following the upcoming NBA season. Both players have flirted with the notion of calling other NBA cities home, while causing angst within the Nets' fan base along the way. Between Irving's long-term contract standoff, Durant's direct trade request to owner Joe Tsai and all of the noise and hoopla that come along with the two superstars, the act is growing tired.

 Management is fed up with the duo's antics and the two basketball savants don't want to relinquish any previously held control over the composition of the roster and staff. Brooklyn doesn't have a single divisional banner, 50-win season, conference title or NBA title to boast in the three years since both landed in the borough in 2019. 

 More wars have been won on Twitter than on the basketball court and what was supposed to amount to a dynamic team where both players cemented their legacy, has turned into a sideshow and utter disappointment for fans. 

 Starved for a title since the team's inception in 1967, the last two years should have seen the team knocking down that door with one of the most talented rosters ever assembled. Instead, a combination of injuries, non-compliance issues, infighting and all around drama has derailed the Brooklyn Express. 

 On the dawn of a new season, the Nets are still tinkering with this failed experiment to see if it can still yield the results many anticipated when the era first started. 

 While the Nets collective brain trust tries to assemble for possibly one last hooray, this is a stark reminder that this team is not the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. 

 This Brooklyn Nets team may go down in history for all the wrong reasons and it may be time for the organization to cut its losses if another June goes by without the bright lights blaring over center court on at Barclays Center
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The Nets will be celebrating 10 years since moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn this upcoming season, yet if the franchise's nomadic history tells us anything, it's that a permanent stay in the borough isn't necessarily all but guaranteed. With owner Joe Tsai accruing losses topping $100 million the last two seasons, the current business model has proven unsustainable. The Nets first failed Big 3 experiment came under a hasty owner in Mikhail Prokhorov mortgaging the future to obtain aging superstars. Flash forward to 2019 and two prime superstars dropped into Tsai and Sean Marks' laps during free agency and a third star required a haul of picks to assemble another doomed super team. With the possibility that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could be gone at the end of the upcoming season, how can Barclays Center remain a big draw? The venue already lost heaps of money on overpriced and underachieving players who could not stay healthy or eligible to play. Since their founding in 1967, the Nets have called eight different arenas home and if this era basketball goes up in flames, who's to say another move isn't in the offing? The franchise was already struggling to build a loyal season ticket base and with non-committal players as the faces of the franchise, fans aren't exactly lining up at the ticket office to part with their hard earned money. Anything short of an NBA Finals run in this the fourth year with Irving and Durant on the roster together, (Durant missed the 2019 season rehabbing from Achilles surgery), will put Tsai even further into the red and open up the possibility of yet another franchise move. Whether that means a return to Long Island at the brand new UBS Arena, a return to New Jersey at either the Prudential Center or Izod Center, is anyone's guess. Only this much is clear, through poor marketing efforts and even more underwhelming play in Brooklyn, Irving and Durant have the weight on the franchise resting squarely on their shoulders.

 Kevin Durant raised hell this off-season by initiating a trade request to leave Brooklyn.

NBA free agency was dominated by where Durant would land and if the Nets would settle on just any old trade package to get rid of a disgruntled superstar.

In the end, the Nets remained steadfast in their resolve to only trade Durant if it was in the best interest of the team long and short term.

As teams started dropping out of the Durant sweepstakes with the Nets asking price understandably high, the market for the generational basketball talent dried up.

After meeting with owner Joe Tsai two weeks ago to reaffirm his trade request, news broke that Durant and the Nets had reconciled their differences.

Now with the season less than two months away, Durant will have plenty to prove in his quest to deliver Brooklyn its first title.



 




Before you head for the comments and call foul on this idea, I promise there is a shred of logic. There's been a lot of noise regarding the Nets ongoing negotiations with Kyrie Irving on a long-term deal. While many leaks, mainly from Kyrie's camp, are intimating that Irving has a wishlist of teams he'd consider destinations via the sign-and-trade route. 

If Marks let's Irving walk to a team with cap space or Irving takes considerably less money to join a contender, Kevin Durant could be soon out the door behind him by way of a trade request.

Perhaps somewhat surprising is that the Philadelphia 76ers are among the squads Irving would consider if he leaves Brooklyn. Not many teams have the cap space to sign Irving outright, so they'd need to have the Nets' help facilitate a sign and trade scenario to make things work.

In the most ironic twist if fate you could ever envision, what if James Harden, became part of a package back to Brooklyn and Irving to the City of Brotherly love?


We all know how much Daryl Morey loves Harden, but even he sees the player is not what he once was in his prime. However, with Durant as the top scoring options, surrounded by 3-point shooting and Simmons potentially being a playmaker, Harden might be a better fit than most think.

It's clear that the two wouldn't coexist as teammates anymore, but if the financials line up and Kevin Durant has his old running mate back alongside Ben Simmons, who's to say it couldn't work?

Durant was clearly bitter about Harden's abrupt exit from the Nets as he didn't buy I'm to Steve Nash's offensively philosophy that was coordinator by former assistant coach, now with the Lakers, Jordan Ott. 

The Nets hired Igor Kokosov, Jason Kidd's offensive guru in Dallas to head up play calling on the offensive side, an offense that was too isolation heavy and Durant reliant last year.

The most likely scenario is that Brooklyn runs it back with Durant, Irving and a potentially healthy Simmons. It's a dark horse scenario that is getting little attention, but stranger things have happened around these Brooklyn Nets.



 



None of us are getting any younger. The same can be said for superstar Kevin Durant who will turn 34 at the start of next season. Kyrie Irving, who is still unable to play, but can spectate at Barclays Center, is only available for road games not in Toronto or at MSG. 

Ben Simmons, who it was revealed this week has a herniated disc in his injured back, will need everything to go right in order to make a return in time for the playoffs.

Irving, 29, and Simmons, 25, are still approaching the prime of their respective careers. Durant, 33, is at the apex of his prime, arguably the league's best player and in dire need of his runningmates to be available and healthy for a championship pursuit.

While Durant signed with the club for five years, his commitment to Brooklyn is unwavering, but how long can he maintain his status as the NBA's premier player as he gets up into his mid-to-late 30's?

It's a question not enough people are asking and frankly, one Nets fans may wish to avoid addressing.

It's the 1,000 pound gorilla in the room, but any way you slice it, if the 2021-2022 campaign falls short of a title, it will be an utter disappointment and a lost season for the Nets and Durant.

Injuries have ravaged the Nets' current trio of stars and even impacted former Net James Harden throughout the regular season and last year's playoffs.

Harden's unofficial trade demand was a combination of factors including philosophical differences with Steve Nash, Irving's refusal to get vaccinated, and Durant being option 1 in the offense.

 Harden is ultimately in the place he wanted to be, Philadelphia, reunited with former GM Daryl Morey and teamed up with MVP candidate Joel Embid.

He left Durant and the Nets for greener pastures, but Brooklyn ultimately won the trade in perhaps the short term and long-term with a knockdown 3-point specialist in Seth Curry, a rebounding giant in Drummond and a budding star who became disenfranchised with his teammates and fans in Philadelphia in Simmons.

If the Nets ever put all the pieces together, the rest of the league will be put on notice, but with a part-time Irving and Simmons yet to practice, this could ultimately wind up being a lost season with prime Durant for the franchise.

DeAndre Jordan and the Brooklyn Nets had an amicable break-up this month. Jordan, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden still maintain a brotherhood off the court despite no longer being able to call each other teammates.

 Merely days after joining Los Angeles, a situation in which Jordan was blocked from significant minutes by the presence of Marc Gasol and Dwight Howard, the former has been shipped to Memphis. Howard is the frontrunner to grab the starting spot with the Lakers, a team he's now in his third stint with, but with Gasol gone, Jordan has a chance to complete for that starting spot, but at the very least it has opened up some possible minutes for him to play an integral role in a championship push. 

 The Nets castoff was a poor fit in Steve Nash's switch heavy schemes, and brings athleticism to a Lakers squad evidently looked to move on from the powerful, but lumbering Gasol. 

 The Nets are the bettor's favorites to win the title and the Lakers are right behind them in that conversation. 

If the East's Giant meets the Western juggernaut in June, adding an ex-Net to the opposing side will only add more intrigue to a potentially compelling NBA Finals matchup.
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