The Brooklyn Nets first regular-season dress rehearsal will take place on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers in a potential final preview.
The Nets have already announced that Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving will not play in the game. It is undoubtedly the right decision given the load they will have to take on the attacking side of the pitch this season.
That burden will increase tenfold if Irving maintains his reluctance to get the vaccine, but let’s put this conversation on ice for now.
While Durant, Harden and Irving are the centerpieces of this roster, the Nets have done a great job building up their depth this offseason. You could say they have 12 depths, which is a far cry from the rotation in 2020-21.
Got us thinking about who will become the Nets’ x-factor this year?
Who will be the Brooklyn Nets X-Factor in 2021-2022?
If this article was written right before the playoffs, Joe Harris would be the obvious choice. While the $ 72 million sniper is missing in the playoffs, Nets fans know roughly what they’re going to get from him during the regular season. Last year, he led the league in three-point shooting at 47.5%. That excludes it.
Blake Griffin is a popular pick, but he’s been surprisingly consistent after Brooklyn pulled him off the buyout market. The 32-year-old should only improve with more viable depth pieces around him in the frontcourt.
There remains Paul Millsap and / or LaMarcus Aldridge. While Millsap is expected to fill the role of Jeff Green and Green was the X-factor for the Nets last season, the nod has to go to Aldridge after shockingly postponing retirement to resume his career.
Of course, Aldridge felt an irregular heartbeat in his fifth game with the Nets last year and was forced to retire days later. In an astonishing turn of events, the seven-time All-Star was medically cleared to play again over the summer and signed a veteran’s minimum contract ($ 2.6 million) to pursue a ring with Brooklyn.
At 32, Aldridge is past his prime. However, it still belongs to the conversation of the elites when it comes to great men. If his medical issues don’t recur, he could make a huge difference to the Nets.
We all know how hard Brooklyn struggled to get production in their zone before last season, right? DeAndre Jordan was unplayable. Nicolas Claxton was solid defensively, but offered very little in attack. The same can be said of Alize Johnson. It’s really no wonder Steve Nash played small ball as much as he did.
If Aldridge can replicate the efficiency he enjoyed with Spurs last season – 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds with shooting spreads of 0.521 / .360 / 0.838 – the Nets’ already dominant offense will be even more so. impossible to stop.
Again, this all depends on Aldridge’s health. If it is available, it will produce in spades. If he struggles with durability, the Nets’ front court will be a major handicap. If that isn’t considered X-Factor material, then nothing does.