RECENTLY, Hall-of-famer Julius Irving’s comments about the Brooklyn Nets “buying their way to a championship” became the subject of debate on the internet.
“Dr J” also went on to say that the Los Angeles Lakers are known for doing the same thing -- loading up their team.
Was it fair or foul?
NETS. As presently constructed, the Nets are possibly one of the most potent offensive forces ever assembled in one team.
You have three MVP -type caliber players in Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving who are all in their prime.
Based on career averages these three alone can account for 75.1 points in a game. That means you can practically throw in any two mediocre players in the NBA averaging 10 points a game and you are already assured that your first five can compete against any elite opponent.
The fact that LaMarcus Aldridge abruptly retired for health reasons doesn’t even affect them. Not when you have Blake Griffin and De Andre Jordan capable of giving you decent inputs as back-ups.
The question now becomes one of chemistry. As we all know, an assembly of talent is half of the job done. The other half is figuring out how to make the pieces fit.
FAIR. All told, I think Irving’s comments were not meant to offend anybody -- it was more of an honest take on how crafty this team has become in terms of acquiring the best talent.
Remember that Harden didn’t start out with this team and he had to settle his issues first with the Houston Rockets. Ergo, joining the Nets wasn’t a foregoing conclusion. Landing him was not a given -- it took a couple of turns and bends before he was able to finally make his way to this super-team.
Secondly, we all know that there is a salary cap in the NBA and all teams have to work around that. If any, it’s a testament to the creativity and talent of management in being able to forge such a superior force.
And finally, it all comes with a price. They may be the most talented trio in basketball right now, but the price to pay is that they are not tied to long-term contracts. The Nets have sacrificed a lot in getting these three together. If this experiment implodes, there may be no second chances. Forget about a rebuild. This team is built to win and win it now or in the next season.
Because the level of talent is so superior, expectations run superlatively high. It’s championship or bust for these guys. And that’s a huge responsibility on the Nets management and on the shoulders of rookie coach Steve Nash.
And by the way, Dr J was also correct on his reference about the Lakers. Even now, they are a stacked team with Lebron James, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond.
James did the same in Miami when he forged his own super trio. Stacking is allowed. But it all comes with a heavy price.
LAST ROUNDS. Are on my SHS-B ‘89 batchmate Adim Young and lovely wife Che-Che who both recently celebrated their birthdays. Cheers!