All of these concerns: defensive issues, health concerns and questions in the postseason are valid points that fans and media members bring up when discussing the Nets. There’s even another concern that I failed to mention which is how the Nets will deal with dominant big men like Joel Embiid or Anthony Davis. However, I’m here to tell you, even though those are all valid concerns, the Nets should still be the favorites, not just to make the Finals, but to take home the “Larry OB.”
Why you ask? Well, the simple reason is that the Nets best three is better than any other team’s best three in the league. And the Nets Big three of Durant, Harden and Irving are three of the ten best players in the league, that is when they’re healthy. It’s as simple as that.
Has there defense been complete garbage this season? Absolutely, but defense is something that can be taught. Defense is something that doesn’t take much skill. All it takes is effort and effective communication. Any team is cable of being a good defensive unit, and the Nets are no exception. Since everyone got all hot bothered once they saw that Nets defensive rating, they’ve actually improved quite a bit on that end of the floor. They’ve developed into a decent defensive unit, and there is no reason to expect that their defense will get worse in the playoffs where players care much more about the outcome.
Next, as for the “do it in the postseason” concern, I don’t believe that will be an issue for Harden or Irving this season.
In Houston, Harden was asked to do everything for them. Now, that is particularly Harden’s fault because he asked for that responsibility, but now that he’s in Brooklyn, surrounded by Durant and Irving, Harden doesn’t have the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Harden is the Nets main playmaker and that’s all he has to do come playoff time. The reason his shooting percentages are all some of the best in his career is because he’s not taking as many shots, particularly bad shots. Instead of shooting a contested step back three with the shot clock running out, Harden can kick it to Irving or Durant and let them cook, or find Joe Harris in the corner for a spot up three. With the Nets, Harden isn’t asked to everything like he had to do in Houston.
That same reason is why Kyrie will be successful in the postseason.