Brooklyn Nets: The two biggest hurdles to a championship as the playoffs near

Brooklyn Nets Kyrie, Harden, Durant (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie, Harden, Durant (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Brooklyn Nets have two big hurdles they’ll have to clear to win an NBA Championship this season. 

The Brooklyn Nets, on paper, should be one of the favorites, if not the overwhelming favorite, to win the 2021 NBA Championship. However, entering the playoffs, the Nets will be one of the bigger question marks.

Even though they are sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings at the moment, this is a team that could have many internal hurdles to winning a championship this season. In fact, this might be the only contender in the league this season that might have bigger internal questions than external ones.

You could easily make the argument that the Nets’ biggest threat is themselves, for several reasons.

More from Sir Charles In Charge

The injury concern for the Brooklyn Nets

The biggest concern for the Brooklyn Nets heading into the playoff has to be the injury bug. If the Nets don’t make the Eastern Conference Finals (at least), it will likely be due to unavailability or an injury that takes place.

Even though Kevin Durant has looked unstoppable when he’s been on the floor, you can’t overlook the fact that he’s missed 32 games this season. Kyrie Irving has missed 15 games and James Harden has missed 17 games, for different reasons as well.

The three-man lineup of Kyrie, Durant, and Harden has only played in 186 minutes together so far this season. It ranks 25th in minutes played among three-man lineups for the team.

Harden was acquired on Jan. 16 and the trio of Harden, Kyrie, and Durant have technically been together for 38 games. If the Nets are going to make it out of the Western Conference, they’re going to need all three of their stars healthy and playing at a high level – especially with the lack of depth the team has on its roster, even though they’ve helped on that front by adding LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin recently.

The big on-the-court concern for the Brooklyn Nets

Aside from the injury and availability concerns that the Brooklyn Nets may have heading into the postseason, the one other huge on-the-court concern for the team falls on the defensive side of the floor.

Through the 38 games since the Nets’ acquisition of Harden, they rank 27th in defensive rating. It’s clear that their biggest issue in the playoffs will fall on that end of the floor. However, the big question is whether or not that will be big enough of an issue to cost them a shot at winning a championship?

With a healthy Durant, Kyrie, and Harden, there isn’t a defense in the NBA currently that will be able to stop them consistently in the playoffs. Where it could get dicey is if the Nets aren’t healthy for the entire postseason. That’s when their defensive woes could enter the equation and tip the scales one way or another.

That’s what we’ve seen over the last few weeks as Kevin Durant has been in and out of the lineup for the team.

If the Nets are going to win a championship this season, they’re going to need their offense to be so overwhelming on one end of the floor that what they do on defense doesn’t really matter. The last time a team with a 15th ranked defense or worse won an NBA championship was the 2005-06 Miami Heat. They ranked 17th in defensive rating that season.

Los Angeles Lakers: Ranking the 5 biggest threats to a repeat. dark. Next

Could the Brooklyn Nets be the next? If so, they’d likely be the worst defensive team in history to win an NBA championship. They’re currently ranked 25 in defensive rating this season.