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Path to the Championship: Brooklyn Nets

Last Season: The Brooklyn Nets surprised everyone and decided to make a late surge into the playoffs with a 42-40 record beating out the Orlando Magic (ORL), Detroit Pistons (DET), and the Charlotte Hornets (CHA) for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The face of the franchise at the time was point guard D’Angelo Russell, fresh off of his first All-Star game. Russell heavily changed the culture of the Brooklyn Nets and helped them obtain relevancy as a desired destination in the NBA. They played the Philadelphia 76ers (PHI) in the first round of the playoffs and upset them in Game 1. However, they went on to lose the next four games in a row ending their season with high hopes for the future. 

Transactions:The Nets had a busy and exciting offseason as they made moves to win it all. They have acquired small forward Kevin Durant through a sign-and-trade with the Golden State Warriors for D’Angelo Russell. They signed point guard Kyrie Irving and center Deandre Jordan. 

Title Hopes: New York has always been the Mecca of basketball and home of the Knicks, however the Nets have paved their way to make themselves the new team of New York. The Nets may have to wait for the progression of Kevin Durant’s torn achilles to make huge noise: with him the Nets are nearly submitted to be in the NBA Finals. He could return sometime in the late stretch of the regular season or early postseason. The Nets have no reason to rush him back because they’ll have this group for the next four years and if they get all their players healthy, there’s no reason why they couldn’t bring Brooklyn a championship. The Nets could be running a line up of: Kyrie, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince, Durant, and Jordan. Furthermore, a bench of 3- pointer specialist Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen will help keep the team strong in times where their starters aren’t playing. 

The Nets will be one of the possible 12 teams to strongly compete for this upcoming season’s championship. They will have to take down the Philadelphia 76ers (PHI), Toronto Raptors (TOR), Milwaukee Bucks (MIL), Indiana Pacers (IND), Boston Celtics (BOS), or the Pistons in the eastern conference. Their biggest fault last year was their inexperience and young core, although they will be led by a group of three individuals who know playoff basketball. So, as long as they get healthy, the Nets will really dominate the East like never before.

The Tragic Flaw: For all of the excitement surrounding Brooklyn’s high profile summer, the obvious fly in the ointment is Kevin Durant’s torn Achilles. Once Durant is healthy, the Nets can expect to dominate, but just how soon will Durant be able to fill that role? Kyrie Irving has dropped off a bit since his days in Cleveland, so if Durant can’t lead the Nets into the playoffs their fans may have to wait until the following season to really see what this team can do.  

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