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Brooklyn Nets Mid-Season Report

Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline has passed and the Brooklyn Nets are a different team. The Nets were put in a position that required them to trade two All-Stars in less than a week. Kyrie Irving requested a trade six days before the deadline, ultimately landing with the Dallas Mavericks. The Nets then flipped Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns with less than 24 hours left to the deadline after seeing the writing on the wall. 

The Nets overall lost Durant, Irving, Markieff Morris and T.J. Warren. The team gained Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges and a handful of future draft picks.

Future Nostalgia

A connection can be made to the 2018-2019 roster led by point guard D’Angelo Russell, a team that surpassed expectations. The Nets ended up making the playoffs but fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. The core of the team was a bunch of young guys playing loose and with nothing to lose. Jarrett Allen, Dinwiddie (who is returning coincidentally), Joe Harris, and Caris LeVert were all key players for the Nets that year.

Brooklyn Bridges

Bridges was the key piece in the Durant trade but one could argue that the team is lacking a bona fide building block or franchise cornerstone despite the young forwards acquisition. Bridges is making a case that building block is already on the team by dropping a career-high 45 points against the Miami Heat before All-Star Weekend.

The fourth-year veteran is averaging 25 points per game, shooting 54% from the field and 57% from three on five attempts per game so far for the Nets.

Young & Old

Johnson, who was also a part of the return from the Suns, has struggled shooting from outside since joining the Nets. The former Tar Heel is shooting just 29% on eight attempts a game. Johnson is a career 39% shooter from three but is still working his way back from his meniscus surgery. 

Finney-Smith is struggling to shoot from three as well, shooting 26% so far in his four games with the Nets. The Virginia native shoots 35% from beyond the arc for his career, which is about league average in terms of percentage.

Dinwiddie is averaging 17 ppg since returning to the Nets. The eight-year vet is shooting 40% from the field and 32% from three. Dinwiddie’s shooting has been down as well, previously shooting 40% from three in his fifty-two games with the Mavericks.

How Will They Finish?

This new unit is 2-2 in four games together so it is a bit too early to judge their capabilities. Bridges has been electric though and put up career numbers against the Heat in his short Nets career thus far. The Nets competed in a nail-biting three-point loss to the Sixers in their first game with all the new pieces together. This young squad certainly shows some promise.

The Nets have twenty-four games left in the season coming out of the break, will they be able to hold onto their playoff spot? The team will play the Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, and Cleveland Cavaliers two more times. The team will also face the Boston Celtics and 76ers one more time.

The Nets are currently situated as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, two and a half games behind the fourth seed Cavaliers with a two-game lead over the sixth seed New York Knicks. The Nets aim to stay above the sixth seed which is the last solidified playoff spot before falling into the Play-In Tournament.

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