The Brooklyn Nets completed a trade to send James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond and Seth Curry on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
With Harden unhappy and refusing to sign an extension, this was perhaps the best move for the Nets. Although he’s an All-Star who can impact games, he hasn’t played at the elite level this season and has failed to deliver the goods in scoring. Nonetheless, his ability to play was not in question as he is the second-best provider with 10.2 assists per game behind Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns.
The Nets have cooled off their torrid start to the season, following a nine-game skid, and are desperate for a turnaround. After Kevin Durant was injured, the onus of securing wins fell to Harden and, on occasion, Kyrie Irving. But they haven’t risen to the challenge of Durant’s absence, and it may be time for the organization to bring in some fresh blood.
What will Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond and Seth Curry bring to the Brooklyn Nets?
Given how much Harden has been in the news lately, the news of his move to the Sixers didn’t come as a surprise to many. With new personnel on the roster, it begs the question, how will the Brooklyn Nets evolve in the future?
Irving had ceded his position as primary ball handler to Harden, and since he was only a part-time player, that responsibility could fall to Simmons. Although Simmons is no Harden when it comes to creating assists, his best average being 8.2 per game in his rookie season, he gives the Nets an edge in transition.
Defensively, Simmons offers a lot more protection on the perimeter. He finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season behind Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
But it’s worth pointing out that his shooting could be a problem, which is where Seth Curry can be a help. Although the video shows Simmons has been working on his shot while not playing this season, he hasn’t been challenged to play in competitive play since the summer.
Curry is an amazing catch-and-shoot player who can also create his offense. He is having a career-best season, averaging 15.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 48.5 percent, including 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Certainly, the James Harden-Joel Embiid partnership will be a more feared offense. But the Nets have gained depth and defense, including an offensive formation that could also do some serious damage.
Andre Drummond, although limited offensively, executes the pick-and-roll to perfection. Playing alongside great ball handlers like Kyrie and Simmons should give the Nets another way to manage their offense by focusing less on isolation plays.
Can the Brooklyn Nets fight for the championship with these acquisitions?
Things are looking bleak for the Nets (29-25) since the start of the new year. They have won five games in their last 21 outings and are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference.
Heading into the season, the Nets were one of the favorites to win the NBA title, but they are currently 5.5 games behind the first Miami Heat. There is still no timetable for Durant’s return, which means available players will have to make an impact in the coming weeks to stop the crisis.
With their new acquisitions, they could have a starting five with Irving, Curry, Simmons, Durant and LeMarcus Aldridge. Using Simmons as a forward might be something to consider as he could play forward and convert on high percentage shots.
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Regardless of the team setup, the Nets could become championship contenders as soon as Simmons is mentally ready to play and Durant returns from his knee injury. They form a more balanced team with these acquisitions with a greater chance of challenging for the 2022 title.