The Brooklyn Nets traded former NBA MVP James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two future first-round draft picks. The trade changes both teams dramatically, but what does it mean for Brooklyn?
Brooklyn received considerable assets in return for Harden. Consequently, the team improved in many ways and is likely better overall. Why?
First, Simmons is an elite defender. He is also a versatile defender and can arguably guard all five positions. In particular, expect Simmons to match up with two-time NBA MVP and 2021 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo if the two teams meet in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
Second, with the acquisition of Seth Curry, Brooklyn adds an elite shooter from three-point range. That will make it harder to double-team Kevin Durant. This is especially important because of the injury suffered by Joe Harris, who may have experienced a setback in his return.
Additionally, Andre Drummond is a tremendous upgrade at the center position and Brooklyn hasn’t had someone as talented since they traded for Harden. Despite the defensive deficiencies of Drummond, the addition of Simmons and the subtraction of Harden make Brooklyn better defensively. The Nets are now a more versatile team as well.
On the other hand, Brooklyn is no longer as explosive on the offensive end. Durant and Harden (Kyrie Irving on the road) gave you three players capable of explosive scoring nights on any night.
The Brooklyn Nets still have the talent to win a championship and still are a legitimate threat to win a 2022 NBA Championship. But can Brooklyn Head Coach Steve Nash, only in his second season, build the cohesion needed in such a short period of time? The talent is there and only time will tell.