As someone who is on record suggesting the Brooklyn Nets may be unstoppable if healthy, it's truly horrifying to see the Los Angeles Lakers give them an atomic wedgie Saturday night without the biceps of either LeBron James or Anthony Davis. If a shell of a team like that can brutalize the relatively soft interior defense at such a clip, what might Joel Embiid or Giannis Antetokounmpo or anyone more skilled offensively than Andre Drummond do come playoff time?
What if this year's Brooklyn team is just a sexier version of last year's Los Angeles Clippers team which went down in a hail of misfired shots way too early in the NBA bubble playoffs? That would be a real disappointment and make me and all my rowdy Nets enthusiasts look supremely stupid.
Colin Cowherd explored that idea on his show today.
Now, there's a decent connection here. We do get enamored with offense more easily than we do defense. Everyone knows the Nets can't stop a soul from putting the ball in the basket and will instead trust in their ability to simply do it more. There are worse plans to have with James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at one's disposal, not to mention some other former All-Stars who figure to be halfway decent fourth, fifth or seventh options.
For my money, Brooklyn is nowhere near what the Clippers were last year. That team was a mess internally. For all the doom and gloom forecast about sharing the basketball, Steve Nash's team seems to be rowing in the same direction.
Now, for the idea that Brooklyn is a Gonzaga waiting for its Baylor with superior defense: the NCAA Tournament is single-elimination affair. Play the title game six more times and I still like the Zags to win the series. Surely, there will be nights in the playoffs where the Nets' deficiencies crop up and make them look entirely beatable. But for that to happen four times in a seven-game stretch means an awful lot of off nights for an awful lot of Hall of Fame talent.
This is all to say, my official statement is this: while not truly worried about a repeat of last year's Clips' disaster, my staff is closely monitoring the situation and will be poised to sell any Nets stock if this disturbing trend continues.