The Brooklyn Nets big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving, notably nicknamed “Scary Hours,” could be one of the most dominant offensive teams in NBA history, but they might not get a chance to prove that this season.
The big three have been hit with an onslaught of injures and missed time throughout this season, which has led to the big three only playing a total of seven games together. This missed time has been due to a lot of different things.
The first reason was that Harden did not start the season with the Nets, but once he joined the team, he was stable in the lineup till he got hurt. Irving took a week off of basketball for personal reasons right before the trade from Harden occurred and has since then taken more personal days, along with regular-season bumps and bruises, leading him to have some night off.
No KD tonight. pic.twitter.com/rqgboh4LlV
— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) April 21, 2021
Durant has gone through a lot this season, going through COVID-19 protocols twice, and on the second time around, pulling his hamstring, along with the Nets being very careful with his playing time to keep him healthy, and finally taking a knee to the thigh.
Now Harden was averaging 37 minutes a game, which could have led to him pulling his hamstring, the game right before Durant was cleared to play, and has now had a setback in his recovery.
Nets say James Harden experienced a setback while conducting on-court rehab on Monday and will be out indefinitely with hamstring strain.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 20, 2021
With the stars of this team spending such little time together on the court, there are two ways to look at it. The first, and positive perspective, is that Durant, Harden, and Irving are all close friends who, when the time comes, have enough chemistry and offensive skill to carry this team to the NBA Finals still. The second, and much more negative presentive, is that this team will collapse in the playoffs because of a lack of on-court chemistry, very similar to what happened with the Los Angeles Clippers last season. I touched a little on this right in an early article when Harden got hurt and Durant returned.
Both of these scenarios are possible, and there are explains for both. The Clippers from the last season are the perfect example of how quickly “a team destined for the Finals” can collapse.
Once the playoffs start, and if the Nets are healthy, the argument of who will be the closer and the fact is that team chemistry is more important on the defense side of the ball could be the two issues that bring the team down.
The Nets’ offense would still be incredible, but being in close shootouts games, might not be the best for the team.
Eventually, this could result in close losses to very solid teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers.
It’s looking like Brooklyn will head into the playoffs with 7 combined games played with their big 3. We know offense won’t be a problem but a lack of defensive reps & an unclear crunch time hierarchy could spell disaster similar to LAC last year… pic.twitter.com/lZ7VFrxGQ8
— Kalyb Champion (@Bucketscenter1) April 20, 2021
The other side of the coin is that the Nets stars, when right, are amazing offensively and already have enough chemistry to work it out. The games could look like the victory over the Clippers on February 2nd when the big three played together, and it was an excellent game that the Nets got an impressive win in. The big three shot over 50% in the fourth quarter scoring a combined 29 points to lead the Nets to a four-point victory.
On top of that, with the stars out, chances have emerged for role players to get more minutes to shine, such as Joe Harris, Jeff Green, Bruce Brown, Landry Shamet, Nicolas Claxton, and Blake Griffin, who now have solidified their roles to make an impact in the playoffs. With these reinforcements on their roster, Brooklyn is league-favorites at average odds of +255 according to Sports Betting Dime
At this point, the Nets could either be a historic collapse or play like they did that night against the Clippers and win the NBA Finals.
Only time will tell how healthy the Nets will be going into the playoffs and what a healthy Nets team might even look like.
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