All-Stars no more: The big problem with the Brooklyn Nets

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Blake Griffin (left) and LaMarcus Aldridge (right) will have much to prove for the Brooklyn Nets this NBA season.
Veteran big men Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge struggled for the Brooklyn Nets in their season opener, with questions lingering over the team's depth. Pictures: Getty Images

OPINION

There is something to be said for experience. We value it in all areas of life, but, as appeared to be the case for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, perhaps we value it too highly.

Coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks brought in a lot of big names who used to be All-Star/All-NBA players in the offseason to try to fill out the Nets’ frontcourt rotation. 

DISASTER: Ben Simmons cops bombshell ban after practice session fiasco

LOOKING AHEAD: NBA best bets for MVP, Rookie of the Year and more

Having a forward combination of Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant would get most NBA fans salivating - if they hadn’t been watching for the last three years. 

Durant is not the issue here, it’s Nash leaning into relying on players based on their name and age, and not on their ability or fit.

Last season, I praised Nash, for his inventiveness. He turned Bruce Brown Jr. from a point guard in Detroit to using him functionally as a centre, rolling to the rim when lined up next to James Harden and Durant. 

Brown was missing from the Nets' rotation in their opening night blowout loss against Milwaukee though.

Instead Nash started Griffin at power forward, a position he barely played last season next to young big man Nic Claxton.

Claxton is young and he should be getting minutes, but the reason to play him and Griffin together was to allow enough minutes for LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap to play together off the bench. 

Aldridge looked dreadful. Millsap didn’t even play in the second half because he was that bad, not to mention James Johnson, a veteran on his ninth NBA team who also struggled. 

Nash’s insistence on rewarding players with name brand value over someone like Brown, who legitimately was the Nets fifth best player last season, is one of those scenarios where catering to ego and reputation has damaging impacts on the court.

The Nets made the hard call to tell Kyrie Irving he isn’t playing until he gets vaccinated, which is a step in the right direction. 

But until Nash decides to get his best players (like Brown) on the court at the expense of past-their-prime veterans like Aldridge, Johnson, and Millsap (and to a lesser extent Griffin), there are going to be struggles.

Steve Nash will be challenged to manage the Brooklyn Nets' veteran roster.
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash will be challenged to find a strong defensive rotation with a roster of veteran bigs at his disposal. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Nash figured it out last season, eventually benching and removing DeAndre Jordan from the rotation. How long will he take to do the same to one or two of the ageing frontcourt players this season? 

Perhaps it is rust, especially for Aldridge who temporarily retired last year with a heart condition. But the early returns of a perplexing decision from the head coach led to a blowout loss against their main competitor for the Eastern Conference berth in the NBA Finals. 

There's no doubt Nash has some work to do.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting