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After the blockbuster trade to land James Harden and the latest additions of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Brooklyn Nets are heavy favorites to win the NBA title.
It almost seems like a forgone conclusion according to so-called experts and fans. Not so fast, championships are not won on paper. They actually have to play the games. Funny how that works.
When Harden came aboard, the big question was would there be enough shots for Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant? The answer was emphatically yes, with Harden taking over as primary ball handler and facilitator. Harden seamlessly integrated within the offense and the Nets responded by playing great basketball.
Coming to Brooklyn has been a blessing for Harden. Not only is he playing with better talent and a legitimate title contender, his image is simultaneously being reshaped and repaired.
All you heard in Houston was he was a selfish player who didn’t make others better or couldn’t get over the hump leading a team. That narrative has changed. He’s playing more freely without the burden of having to score 40 points every night in order for the Nets to win.
The other question was did Brooklyn have enough depth? With Griffin and Aldridge, that is no longer a concern.
Griffin was the next player to join the Nets after Harden. He wasn’t playing in Detroit: out of sight and out of mind. He was supposed to be done as a player, known as being injury prone. He comes to Brooklyn and now it’s not fair? Which is it? Make up your mind.
This is the perfect situation for Griffin. He’s not a star anymore but can be an effective fourth/fifth option. He can still finish around the basket and above the rim as well as knock down open mid range shots (which he should get plenty of).
Aldridge was the final piece added to the roster. He may be the biggest late addition because he gives the Nets something they lacked, a post presence. Even at 35, Aldridge is still a very capable and dependable scoring option and decent rebounder.
Like Griffin, he won’t be asked to carry any load or play big minutes. Another ideal situation for a veteran player.
There will be an adjustment period building chemistry with each other. Once they do that, the Nets will be a very dangerous opponent come playoff time. Remember Golden State’s “Death” lineup?
Brooklyn potentially will have their own with Harden, Irving, Durant, Griffin and Aldridge. All the pressure is now squarely on the Nets to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy to Atlantic Avenue.