The Brooklyn Nets came within a few centimeters of the Eastern Conference Finals and about 1.5 injuries away from a cakewalk NBA title, but will be watching the rest of the playoffs from home. There's no huge indictment to be made as Kyrie Irving and James Harden's maladies prevented a superteam from super-sized accomplishments. But fear not, because the content well is not dry. With all available takes on the matter available early morning, First Things First's Kevin Weekes opted for the one envisioning next year's team ripping off a record 74-win regular season.
And sure. That could happen in the way anything can happen. But if it does, it will be a complete and utter accident against a backdrop of even more carefully considered load management.
Next year will be the third leg of an unusually chaotic three-season circuit which has upended an already rapidly adapting approach to managing assets. The Nets have seen two seasons with Irving and Kevin Durant end in disappointment because of health setbacks and one foray with a true big three shrink due to unavailability. In what world would the then be less cautious and more demanding during the increasingly meaningless regular season?
If Durant, Harden, and Irving are all fully healthy next season they'll combine to play in about 180-185 games, tops. They'll overlap in fewer. There is no reason for them to chase the No. 1 seed and even less of a reason to fight against the Warriors' 73-win mark. So just how in the hell are they going to walk away winners in over 90 percent of contests?
It's hard to imagine assembling three superstars who could possibly care less about the mark. So will it be the reserves and Blake Griffins of the world going all out for regular-season glory.
On talent alone, it certainly seems like a possibility. No one is discounting that. It's just far harder to accomplish if not actively trying. Look at every other team that's suited up for an 82-game season for further proof.