Brooklyn came into this year with title aspirations as they finally had a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. This was in addition to an intense lineup, but now things have changed. They shipped out Caris LeVert in a league-shaking trade that brought in James Harden. Another big three has been created, and it shot up the Nets odds to be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. In a slightly shortened NBA season, the Nets will battle a pretty strong conference, and any title matchup would be against one of the Los Angeles teams based on odds.
• Nets Odds to Win NBA Title: +390
• Nets Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +155
*Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook
Nets Odds Analysis
With the Nets adding James Harden, odds quickly increased for them to win the Eastern Conference and jump to the front of the line in the East for Finals odds. Harden and Durant played back in OKC together and were Western rivals over the past few years. Kyrie Irving has had an on and off affair with the NBA dealing with injuries and personal issues that have kept him away from the team at times. Adding Harden gives the Nets some insurance in the backcourt if Irving was to miss any time.
The value is pretty much gone with the Nets. They are highly favored to win the Eastern Conference, and even though it is wide open, I would rather take a shot on the 76ers, who have +600 odds. Within the NBA Finals odds, the Clippers are +550, where the Nets +390 isn’t bad, but not quite where it was before the season started. I would be more inclined to take the field over the Nets, given their major jump in odds.
If you will take the odds on them winning it all, getting in early is always the best option. They are a real contender and while there are a few other teams in the mix as well, doubting three all-NBA players isn’t in our best interest. The only foreseeable reason the odds drop for the Nets is due to injury. Any one of the big three going down would cause a shift in odds.
Strength And Weaknesses Of The Nets
The glaring obvious is that the Nets are going to score at will. They are averaging over 120 points per game and rank top-ten in pace. It also helps that you have three of the top scorers in the league. They are top five in FG% and 3P% this season and are top-ten in rebounding. Defensively they have been up and down, which was to be expected. A new unit needs time to gel, but Harden and Irving are not notable defenders as well. The defense is certainly an issue, but it isn’t as big of a deal if you can put up 120+ a night, which seems to be how they will operate.
After the trade, the depth fell a few notches. They lost Jarrett Allen, who should have been starting over DeAndre Jordan since last season, and they also shipped out Caris LeVert, who ended up in Indiana. With Spencer Dinwiddie out for a lengthy period of time, the bench isn’t as appealing. If they need to go to it during stretches down the line, it might become a bigger weakness than expected.
A Path To A Finals Win
What would a Nets championship look like? They have to get out of the Eastern Conference first, and right now, they have the best odds to do so. However, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Boston are in the mix as well. Finishing 1st or 2nd in the conference would get them a matchup with what could be several teams. But it is shaping up to be teams like the Hawks, Cavaliers, Hornets, Raptors, or Heat. Toronto and Miami have struggled so far this season, and the rosters have fallen a bit short. A first-round win is highly likely for the Nets, but they have to start getting through those other teams mentioned. Philadelphia is the team that concerns me the most, especially if they push for another piece at the deadline.
Both Los Angeles teams are favored to come out of the West, close between the two. I believe the Nets would have to go through one of those teams in the Finals, despite the Jazz and Nuggets being on that outer cusp. Brooklyn matches up well with anybody given their offense but slowing down other duos will be tough given the defense has struggled through the first half of the season.