Battle In BK: ESPN Analyst Says Nets Will Not Win The East

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James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets high-five after coming off the court

The Brooklyn Nets, currently tied for first place in the Eastern Conference are heavily favored to win East but not everyone is buying the hype surrounding the superstar trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden.

ESPN’s Jalen Rose, told his co-host of the Jalen & Jacoby show, doesn’t believe the Nets will be the last team standing in the East.

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“I’m not crazy. I understand the Nets have three of the top 12 players in the entire NBA and one of those players happens to be Iceberg Slim shooting treys from the suburbs,” Rose said via ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby, this week. “A seven-footer named Kevin Durant, who has won two championships, has been a two-time Finals MVP. They have him and usually when I got confused about some of the things that I saw with this extremely talented team, as long as KD is healthy; they’ll still win the East. And then, the amount of injuries started to become substantial.

“So much so that they’ve only played together seven times, this year — which means there’s 90 days approximately left in this entire season.”

Jalen Rose: ‘This Isn’t The Year for The Nets to Win The East’

Rose makes a great point. The Nets, much like the Celtics, are rapidly running out of time in the midst of the final stretch of the regular season.

“They’re going to have to put together a roster of chemistry that’s going to play well together, offensively and defensively, in particularly clutch situations,” Rose added. “They’re also going to have to figure out how to defend the best bigs in the East. Because when you’re playing against (Joel) Embiid, Giannis (Antetokounmpo), and Bam (Adebayo)? That’s going to be an issue for a Nets team that’s probably going to finish games with Jeff Green, who’s been giving them very good minutes shooting the 3 and giving them toughness.

“But, he’s just not as big as those guys. He’s just not as large as those seven-foot human beings.”

In the past, Durant’s presence on both ends of the floor made all the difference in each of his two championship runs with the Golden State Warriors. Surrounded by teammates like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green; all of whom had plenty of experience in playing with one another, including a title run in 2015 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, gave the Warriors a significant advantage out West.

“I’m just starting to see so much evidence that’s now brought me to the conclusion that this isn’t the year for the Nets to win the East,” Rose said.

For Rose, the Philadelphia 76ers are an easy replacement as his favorite to win the East. However, if the Boston Celtics catch fire between now and the regular season’s finish line, they could be a legitimate threat for the Nets.

Nets’ Steve Nash On Kevin Durant: ‘Day-To-Day, So I Think Friday Or Sunday Are Very Possible’

After topping the Phoenix Suns 99-86 Thursday night at TD Garden, the Celtics can send a message with a win in Brooklyn, Friday. However, if Durant isn’t available, it’ll be difficult to gauge if Boston can keep up with a relatively healthy Nets team that’s already without Harden.

Kevin, who isn’t ruled out for Brooklyn’s matchup against the Celtics, following his leg injury, could see the floor, according to Nets head coach Steve Nash.

“He is day-to-day, so I think Friday or Sunday are very possible,” Nash said, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. “I’m not sure when it would be, or if it would be either of those games. He’s day-to-day. If he keeps progressing at this rate, I think Friday or Sunday are very possible.”

‘Battle In BK’ is a four-part series chronicling the Celtics and Nets ahead of their matchup on Friday, April 23