The Nets were a tough team to figure out entering this season.
Talent wise, they boasted one of the best 1-2 punches in the league in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But how would Durant mesh with a club that he just requested a trade from mere months earlier? Would Irving find his rhythm again back in the lineup consistently after sitting out half of last season? How would Ben Simmons perform, if at all?
And that was before Irving sent the entire organization — and NBA, for that matter, into chaos with his promotion of an antisemitic film and subsequent disgraceful behavior.
And yet here the Nets are. Back at .500 after beating the Magic on Monday and 2-0 now two games into a seven-game homestand that gives them a chance to finally get in gear. If they can take care of business against the Wizards on Wednesday, they will have a winning record for the first time this season.
The lows this season for the Nets have been real low. On and off the court. But their talent can overcome a great deal if it is on the court and producing. And the latter should happen against Washington, even with Simmons sidelined with a reoccurrence of his nagging knee injury. The Nets drubbed the Wizards by 42 points earlier in November.
With Simmons out, this will be a new opportunity for some of Brooklyn’s “other guys” to step up. The trio of Nic Claxton, Seth Curry, and Royce O’Neale are averaging just shy of 33 points per game combined on the year, but each hold key roles in the Nets rotation. Relying so heavily on Durant and Irving is fun and all until it’s not. Or until one or both is banged up.
Sometimes, superstars need help too. And the Nets need to help themselves and take advantage of this fortuitous stretch in the schedule.
Follow ESNY on Twitter @elitesportsny