‘Close the Gap’: Famous Sports Writer Details How the EC is Weighing the Challenge from Brooklyn Nets

Published 04/25/2021, 10:44 PM EDT
Jan 16, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) high fives forward Kevin Durant (7) during a time out in the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports


Brooklyn Nets are now a 41-win team and a menacing threat to the other EC franchises that eye the NBA finals. They’ve been pushing the gas pedal, and it has put them in a position from where reaching the EC finals is a given. 

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For the teams like the Sixers, the Bucks, or the Heat, it is a no-brainer that beating the Nets would take every ounce of effort. As intimidating as it might sound, but the Brooklyn-based franchise is yet to showcase its full potential, and it can get scarier. So how are the remaining squads prepping up to face the toppers?

The nasty battle of Eastern Conference

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Until April 25th, the big three of the Nets have played only seven games where they all showed up together. First, Kevin Durant and now James Harden, the injury woes have kept the star signings from playing together. Still, they’ve won games with the other All-star pieces that make them ever so strong.

In a recent interview, notable sports writer, Adrian Wojnarowski gave an account of Nets’ terror in the conference. He detailed, “The sense among the other contenders in the East is that, when healthy, the talent gap is significant. That’s our best team, but teams like Philadelphia, Milwaukee, even Miami, when they get it together and are healthy, the playing together, the cohesion, knowing who they go to in big moments…”

True, the other title contenders from the East hold the advantage of better chemistry on the floor. Like for example, the trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday, if playing at their best, can trouble the Nets to the extent of defeating their Big 3 clad squad. 

Nets’ Kevin Durant and Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo fight for a jump ball during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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Brooklyn Nets and their very few areas of improvement

With the Nets, the offense is not a problem whatsoever. Even beyond the big three, they have forwards Jeff Green and Joe Harris who have both lifted the three-point shooting for the team. But the department where they might need some coaching is their defense. 

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As the 52-YO NBA insider further added, “then defensively, we keep talking about offensively with Brooklyn and who’s gonna take the shot, but they’re going to have the stops in the playoffs. They’re gonna have to be able to defend against size. I think the other contenders in the East think that’s their way to close that gap with the Nets, is their familiarity on the floor. The fact that Nets are going to face moments with their big three in the postseason, that they haven’t had yet together in the regular season.”

As of now, they’re 25th in the defensive rating, even below the Houston Rockets, who are out of the playoff contention. So yes, a lot of work is to be done in this area, leaving some opportunity for the other teams.

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Sourabh Singh

1153 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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