Ever since the Houston Rockets were essentially forced to trade away James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, everyone viewed Brooklyn’s new Big 3 as the best in the NBA, and rightfully so.
After all, they do have arguably the best player in the league in Kevin Durant, an elite point guard in Kyrie Irving, and one of the best scorers of all time in Harden. The problem on the team did not seem to be a chemistry issue.
Rather, injuries like it was with many other teams last season derailed their chances. Irving suffered an ankle injury against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs and never ended up returning. To make matters worse, Harden ended up having a lingering hamstring injury and was never the same once he returned.
Still, with these injuries, the Nets were only one win away from making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, with Durant leading carrying the weight. Role guys like Blake Griffin, Joe Harris, and Bruce Brown also played well, which gave them a chance.
Resurgence of Blake in Brooklyn
Speaking of Griffin, he looked seemingly well past his prime in Detroit as the Pistons eventually bought him out last year. After the Nets picked him up, however, it seemed to give him a boost of energy that we had not seen in quite some time.
Thus, the Brooklyn Nets decided to re-sign him a few days ago in Free Agency to a one-year deal. Because Griffin’s new contract is only for one year, it is plausible to believe that he will be motivated to play his best, especially if he wants more long-term stability with the team.
The Nets also decided to sign free agent point guard Patty Mills, who played the previous ten seasons in San Antonio under Gregg Popovich. The deal is reportedly worth $12M and will keep him in Brooklyn for the next two years.
Despite Mills not having the most flashy numbers, he is a great competitor and pestering defender who has always played the game the right way. Not to mention he is a career 38.8% three-point shooter, which should help the Nets space the floor.
Furthermore, he does have championship experience, which does go a long way. Not only will Mills be a great spark off the bench for Brooklyn, but he is more than capable of filling in for starting point guard Kyrie Irving, who has been known to be injury-prone thus far in his career.
The bench is something that had to be addressed this offseason, especially since players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Jeff Green are no longer on the team.
Anytime a team is so loaded towards the top, it is often forgotten that role players are essential pieces to the puzzle. Without them, the stars would not be able to play at their best, and if any injury were to occur to the Big 3, the lack of depth on the team would become a huge issue.
This is why bringing Griffin back along with the addition of Patty Mills are two moves that could pay huge dividends for Brooklyn especially come playoff time.