5 bold predictions for the Brooklyn Nets this season

After a lost season, the Nets hope to make a deep playoff run.


Max Van Hosen

All eyes are on the Brooklyn Nets this NBA season. (Illustration by Max Van Hosen)

Adam Covey, Staff Writer

The Brooklyn Nets enter the 2022-23 season coming off a chaotic off-season. The duo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have each stirred up their fair share of trade drama. Irving, who is now speculated to move to Los Angeles in 2023, exercised his 2022-23 player option and re-signed with the Nets, just before Durant requested a trade, which ultimately fell through, placing him back in Brooklyn as well. 

Despite the messiness of the off-season, the return of the two stars, in addition to a talent-packed roster, leaves Brooklyn in a promising position this upcoming season. Here are five bold predictions for the 2022-23 Nets.

 1. A Nets player leads the league in three-point percentage

One clear strength of the Nets heading into this season is shooting. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris and Seth Curry each have multiple seasons under their belt where they shot at least 40% from three-point range. Harris has paced the NBA in three-point percentage in two of the last four seasons, and ranks fourth all-time in career three-point percentage. Curry ranks third all-time in that category. Given the amount of attention Durant and Irving demand from defenses, Harris and Curry are bound to get a plethora of open looks. Each member of this foursome has a shot at leading the NBA in three-point percentage this season, and Harris and Curry are the best bets to do so.

2. Ben Simmons makes the NBA All-Defensive First Team 

Simmons earned All-Defensive honors in 2020 and 2021, but after missing all of last season, it is fair to question whether or not he will reclaim his status as one of the game’s top defenders. Simmons is a defensive unicorn — his unique blend of athleticism, length, quickness and strength allows him to guard all five positions comfortably. He also has a penchant for steals, leading the league in that category during the 2019-2020 season. If Simmons can stay healthy and return to form, he has a great chance to not only make the NBA All-Defensive First Team but also win his first NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.

3. Nic Claxton has a big breakout campaign

While the Nets have ample depth at the guard and forward positions, there is a lack of viable options at center behind recently-extended Claxton. Claxton has fared well when called upon thus far in his NBA career, as proved by his per-36-minute averages of 14.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. With his athleticism and excellent rim-protecting ability, Claxton has the talent to develop into one of the NBA’s better rim running big men.

What makes Claxton stand out from other NBA centers is his ability to stick with guards on the perimeter. While most bigs have trouble containing speedy guards, Claxton can hold his own against these players, making him an asset in today’s increasingly positionless league. With only second-year man Day’Ron Sharpe behind him on the depth chart, Claxton appears poised for a breakout campaign. He should be able to post career highs across the board, with the potential to rank among the NBA’s leaders in blocks.

4. Kevin Durant takes home MVP honors

The biggest storyline of this 2022 NBA off-season was the drama surrounding Durant. In short, he requested a trade, but the Nets did not find an offer they liked, so he is back in Brooklyn for another ride. After all the chaos Durant has been a part of since arriving in New York, it feels like the year where he will silence his critics by doing what he does best: playing basketball at an MVP level. Durant’s stats since arriving in Brooklyn are undoubtedly MVP-type numbers, but he has not been able to play more than 55 games in a season since his arrival. If Brooklyn finishes near the top of the Eastern Conference standings and Durant can remain on the court for around 70 games, he has an excellent shot at winning his second MVP award. 

5. The Nets win their first NBA championship title

In terms of sheer talent, the Nets are one of the best teams — if not the best — in the NBA. Durant is arguably the best player on the planet. Irving, when he is actually on the court, is a top 20 player. Simmons is a defensive stalwart, while Curry, Harris, Claxton, Patty Mills, T.J. Warren, Royce O’Neale and Cam Thomas are solid role players. If the team can put all the chaos behind them and the squad’s stars stay healthy, the Nets have a legitimate chance at winning the 2022 NBA Finals. Head coach Steve Nash must do a better job of uniting this team, but if the Nets find a groove and establish some consistency throughout the regular season, they will be a juggernaut come playoff time. Although the Eastern Conference is stacked with powerhouses such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, this Nets team at full strength has the talent to beat anybody. 

Contact Adam Covey at [email protected].