The Brooklyn Nets Big 3 Split-Up Was Good for the NBA

Brooklyn Nets

In the summer of 2019, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving decided to join forces in Brooklyn. Things were looking up for the Brooklyn Nets. Although they would need to wait a season for Durant to heal from an injury, they added two elite superstars to their roster.

During the 2020-21 NBA season, their luck became even greater. NBA superstar James Harden demanded a trade out of Houston. That landed him in Brooklyn, uniting three of the greatest offensive weapons in NBA history together on the same team.
It was rare to see the Big 3 play together, but it was clear what this team was capable of. They could obliterate teams offensively. No one wanted to play a healthy Brooklyn Nets team in the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Nets, they never truly got healthy. Yet still, they had a chance to win it all. Against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round, Kevin Durant’s toe stepped over the three-point line. Durant and the Nets were a few inches away from defeating the Bucks, which would have likely led to them winning the championship.

Things started going south from there. Injuries and Kyrie Irving drama caused James Harden to become dissatisfied in Brooklyn. He requested a trade and left the team.

With Kyrie Irving’s future in Brooklyn now unclear, it seems like the Nets Big 3 project was unsuccessful. Although Nets fans would disagree, their split-up without winning a championship is what is best for the future of the league. Here are some of the reasons why that is true.

Defense Matters

Take a look at the two teams who competed in the NBA Finals this season. The Warriors and the Celtics were the top two defensive teams in the NBA this year.

In fact, in the past ten seasons, only one team has won the NBA championship that did not finish top ten in defensive ratings. NBA teams and coaches put an emphasis on defense because defense wins championships. At least- it is supposed to.
The Brooklyn Nets, led by their Big 3, was one of the best offensive teams of all time. However, there are two sides of the game, and the Nets were one of the worst defensive teams of all time.

The Brooklyn Nets had some capable defenders and showed some flashes of effort, but for the most part, they won their games from their tremendous offensive power. They believed that it did not matter how poorly they were defensively as long as they could outscore their opponent.

If the Brookyn Nets won a championship with this mentality, it would have been disastrous for the NBA. Championship teams need to be good defensively. Defense is a crucial part of the game. No team should be able to win a championship on one side of the floor.

The failure of the Brooklyn Nets stars to win a championship should set a precedent for future NBA front offices. The lesson that should be learned is that you cannot win a championship simply by stacking up offensive talent. It requires building a team that plays well together. Most importantly, defense matters. If you want to win a championship, you have to go after players who will defend.

Respect Matters

Kyrie Irving and James Harden are good and generous people, without a doubt. Sometimes they make questionable decisions, but ultimately we know that they are capable of showing respect to others.

Irving and Harden did not always show respect to others during their union in Brooklyn. It started with James Harden. After giving the Houston Rockets eight incredible seasons, Harden wanted out.

Harden had every right to request a trade after falling short of a championship for several consecutive seasons in Houston. However, the Rockets did not deserve to go through the way Harden forced his way out after the team showed him years of love and support.

James Harden vowed to leave Houston by every means necessary. He played out of shape and caused drama for a Houston Rockets team trying to figure out their future. He did not show the respect to the Rockets that they probably deserved.

Kyrie Irving was all over the place. He refused to get vaccinated, which was his right. However, it cost the Nets his availability, which ultimately led to a lack of team chemistry.

Irving also made some questionable decisions when it comes to respecting his coach. He made comments about not needing a coach and it was also reported that he held his own practices. He might not agree with everything his coach says, but he still needs to trust in him for the good of the team.

Kyrie Irving and James Harden were thinking about themselves, not what was best for the Brooklyn Nets and their chances of winning the championship. That put pressure on Kevin Durant and the rest of the team.

Everyone should respect the talent of Irving and Harden. But respect is a mutual feeling. They need to show respect for their teammates by showing up ready to play basketball at their highest level, prepared to work as a team in an effort to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a championship.

The stars who are able to master respect for their teams win a championship. Those who mock their fellow players and coaches do not. The Brooklyn Nets were faced with a lot of drama surrounding their Big 3, and they ultimately paid the price. Considering how their victory would have taught negative habits, it was for the best that they did not win a championship.


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