In case you haven’t heard the news, the Brooklyn Nets signed disgruntled ex-Houston Rockets star James Harden in a three-team trade that moved a lot of pieces. Harden arrived in a star-studded team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, forming the league’s latest Big 3. It resulted in an immediate shift of power in the East, with the Nets being the team to beat.
Even before the season started, online bookmakers had the Nets as one of the favorites. However, the odds jumped significantly after the Harden trade. And that’s no surprise – after all, we’re talking about a three-time scoring champ and the 2018 NBA MVP. However, doubts about his level of fitness and the chemistry with KD and Irving has led many fans and experts to question whether the Nets should be a title favorite.
Can They Go All the Way?
Months after the bubble league ended, the Lakers were favorites to repeat. With Lebron James and Anthony Davis in the squad and new additions in Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schröder along with veteran Marc Gasol, they were always going to lead the field at the bookies. The Nets were behind the Clippers and the Bucks, but things have changed in the past week.
While the Nets are not the top favorites right now, even after Harden arriving, they have jumped right behind the Lakers and breathing down their necks. Most bookies have the Lakers at +260 to repeat, with the Nets jumping over the Clippers. Sportsbooks are giving the Steve Nash-led team odds of +300 to win the title, which is pretty respectable, to say the least.
The next teams on the list are the Bucks and Clippers with odds of +650. Those are the biggest title favorites for this season – the next team on the list are the Celtics at +1600 which is a bit of a far cry.
And, while the Nets are major favorites at the best online sportsbooks US, it remains to be seen if the new teammates can gel well enough to do what needs to be done. Questions over loyalty will remain, especially after Harden’s ugly Houston exit. Kyrie Irving hasn’t shown his true potential for the Nets so far and has flat out ignored the team for long stretches. There are a lot of kinks to work out before experts give the Nets major chances to win the title.
Time is of the Essence
Like many big trios before them, Harden, Irving, and Durant will need time to gel together. The only problem is that the season is a bit shorter this year and COVID regulations and contact tracing may make things even worse. The fact that Kyrie Irving went missing for a few weeks doesn’t help move things forward. Durant has been in sensational form so far and Harden’s had a phenomenal few first games.
However, when all three took to the court together for the first time, the Nets were defeated by the Cavaliers in overtime. It was a major blow for the Nets even with all three stars performing to their bets.
While there will definitely be questions, one thing’s for sure – the Nets have all the firepower they need to win. No one can or should doubt the individual abilities of the Big 3. They are all proven stars with several titles between them, and Harden’s only missing a ring to be considered a Hall of Famer (if he isn’t already).
Remember the troubles the Miami Heat experienced in the first season? That may be the case with the Nets yet. James, Bosh, and Wade worked things out and won two titles out of four tries. That may very well be the case with Nets’ Big 3, who are undoubtedly eager to go all the way.