Brooklyn Nets: The Big 3 is healthy and ready for a historic playoff run

NBA Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant James Harden (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant James Harden (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Brooklyn Nets’ big 3 is ready to make NBA history in the playoffs. 

When it was announced that James Harden had been acquired by the Brooklyn Nets earlier this year, it was clear that this team was going to emerge as a problem if they could get to the postseason healthy.

As the regular season comes to an end, with the NBA playoffs slated to begin May 22, the Nets are going to be healthy entering the postseason. Their bet has paid off and we’re about to find out if a historically overwhelming offense will be enough to overcome a pedestrian defense en route to a championship.

The Nets’ big three of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Harden have only played in eight games together, but when on the floor they’ve been especially great on the offensive end. When on the floor, the trio has a 122.4 offensive rating and an 8.4 net rating. They have struggled all season long defensively and, specifically, the trio has a 114.0 defensive rating on the floor.

Can the Brooklyn Nets make history?

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As a team, the Nets will finish the season with the top-ranked defense and the 22nd-ranked defense. If the Nets are going to win a championship this season, they’re likely going to have to do it by overcoming some big odds due to their defensive issues.

Over the last 20 years, the only team that has won an NBA Championship with a defense ranked outside the top 10 is the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000-01. The Lakers had a 22nd-ranked defense in the regular season. Interestingly enough, the caveat for that team was that in the playoffs, they had the top-ranked defense.

In a way, that was a team that managed to turn it on in the playoffs.

Since then, though, it’s been evident that elite defense is often needed to win a championship. Even for the most overwhelming offensive teams in the league. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out for the Nets in the playoffs.

On paper, you wouldn’t think that this would be a problem. A case can be made that the Nets have arguably the most offensively talented big three in history. Each of Harden, Kyrie, and Durant have experienced being No. 1 offensive player on respective teams and have done so at a high level.

Together, even though it changes the element of an offense to a certain extent, this trio has the potential to be flat-out unstoppable in a postseason series.

Not many teams have the defensive weapons to match up with the Nets on any given night, much less in an extended seven-game series. Game-planning against this team is borderline impossible and it’ll be interesting to see how teams try to do so in the playoffs.

The Nets have the chance to make history this postseason, on multiple fronts. And their gamble from this season paid off in a big way. They’re healthy, have a chip on their shoulders, and are ready to shake the foundation of the NBA.

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Question is, will the Nets be able to deliver a championship? It’s going to be one interesting and fun watch to see how this all turns out over the next few weeks.