With the recent acquisitions of big men Blake Griffin from the Detroit Pistons and LaMarcus Aldridge through a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs, the Brooklyn Nets now have a combined 41 All-Star Game appearances on their roster. They are a full-fledged Superteam. A team that already boasted the terrifying (yet injury-prone) trio of snake-like legend Kevin Durant, bearded maestro James Harden and virtuoso scorer and ball handler Kyrie Irving continues to get even better. Following the Griffin and Aldridge acquisitions, many fans around the NBA circle are beginning to question just how legitimate a Brooklyn title would be if they did eventually hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of this season. Would it be bad for the NBA’s nightly competition? Would it make every big name free agent try to go and ring-chase with a contender? All these questions and more have been at the forefront of the sports world’s dialogue in the past couple of weeks.
Where I stand on this issue is complicated for a number of reasons. I have to start by saying that I was all for LeBron joining forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach. And for the most part I am good with the “Big Three” or the star duos like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James and Anthony Davis. I think a culture of stars joining forces to win a ring is one that will make the NBA better and more exciting. And while I am all for free agents deciding to forgo the bag and chase a ring, you could make the argument that this is the most stacked NBA roster of all time.
This team could not stop winning games when James Harden was leading the squad without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who was missing several games for personal reasons (which is a discussion in itself for another article). “The Beard” is a three time scoring champion and former NBA MVP who carried the Rockets by himself for years. He’s a bonafide Hall of Famer in his own right. Now pair that with an NBA Champion and all-time finisher and ball handler in Kyrie Irving, and then a seven foot tall guard that might be the greatest scorer ever? Then just to top it off, you sprinkle in shooters like Tyler Johnson, Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie? That was already beyond fair. Then after all that, the Nets go out and add two dudes who have been All-Stars themselves for years just to get some depth. They are playing on Career Mode in real life.
Not to mention, the Kevin Durant snake factor. I thought ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said it perfectly when he claimed that Durant is on pace “to get another title with the deck stacked so absurdly in his favor. That’s happened once already.” Obviously, Stephen A. was alluding to Durant’s time in Golden State, when he chose to leave an elite and title-hungry sidekick in Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors. The same Warriors who had just come back from 3-1 against Durant and Russ to beat them in the Western Conference FInals. Leaving a contender to join the team that beat you: an all-time snake move in sports history. So this is now the second time that KD has joined a team that has too many weapons for its own good. If they remain healthy, the Brooklyn Nets will be the favorite to win this year’s NBA Fnals, and we will all have to decide whether or not KD’s legacy gets another asterisk.