The Nets made the biggest move of the NBA Trade Deadline by moving James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers. In just over a year, the “Big 3” only played 16 games together, going 13-3.
When news broke that James Harden was disgruntled, something had to change. The Nets would trade Harden and Paul Millsap to the 76ers for Seth Curry, Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks.
Some might consider this the biggest failure in NBA history, having those three superstar talents together and having nothing to show for it, but the Nets were able to address every deficiency they had with their current role players. By adding shooting, rebounding, playmaking, defense, and players who actually want to be in Brooklyn, the Nets should be better poised to win an NBA championship this season.
“With KD, Kyrie, Ben Simmons, and another big body in Drummond, I see Brooklyn as the clear winner in this deal”
— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) February 10, 2022
Ben Simmons was the biggest prize in the trade for the Nets for several reasons. Simmons is a 3-time All-Star, 2-time All-Defensive NBA first-team player who is only 25 years old. Everything went south fast in Philadelphia for Simmons, mainly due to mental and not physical reasons, but he is an incredibly talented player who will fill several voids for the Nets.
Welcome to Brooklyn, Ben Simmons! pic.twitter.com/05zBXfU8hN
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 10, 2022
To start Simmons is one of the best defensive players in the entire NBA, who can guard positions 1-5 with ease. This will perfectly fit into the Nets defensive scheme of switching every action the other team runs. Simmons is quick enough to keep up with dominant guards, while big enough to guard people in the post. He averaged 1.7 steals per game in his career and .7 blocks, while also being an elite rebounder at the guard position, pulling down 8.1 rebounds per game.
Simmon’s biggest weakness, which is well documented throughout his entire career, is by far shooting, which he will not be asked to do with the Nets. He can slide right into the role Harden was playing as a floor general getting the ball to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, while also pushing the tempo in the fast-break offense. Simmons averages 7.7 assists per game in his career and should be able to best that given the amount of offensive talent around him.
Most importantly, Simmons is a player looking to revitalize his career after an incredibly rocky end to his time with the 76ers. Through his agent and in conversations with Durant, he has made it clear he is excited to be in Brooklyn and is ready to get to work.
“Ben Simmons is thrilled. The text message I got was finally. He’s already talked to Kevin Durant.”@ramonashelburne
— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) February 10, 2022
It has been no secret that the Nets have lacked shooting, especially with the uncertainty of Joe Harris. Seth Curry has been one of the best shooters the NBA has ever seen.
The Nets now have two of the five best three point shooters all-time in Joe Harris and Seth Curry. pic.twitter.com/6YBPifQHpU
— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) February 10, 2022
Curry will join Patty Mills and hopefully Harris as the best trio of shooters in the NBA currently. Last season Joe Harris had the best three-point percentage at 47.5%, while Patty Mills currently has made the fourth most threes in the NBA with 173 this season. Curry is nearly a 44% three-point shooter in his career.
In order for Simmons, Irving and Durant to succeed they are going to need to be surrounded by knockdown shooters and that is now what the Nets have even if Harris is unable to return this season.
Drummond provides something the Nets have not had in a long time, a traditional big who can bang with the dominant big men in the NBA. This is especially important in the East as the Nets are surely going to have to go through a combination of the Bulls (Vucevic), the Heat (Adebayo), the 76ers (Embiid), and the Bucks (Antetokounmpo).
Drummond also provides the Nets with more depth at the position, joining Aldridge, Griffin and Claxton to help better prepare the Nets for any foul trouble they may have or dealing with any injuries. Besides this, they all have different strengths (rebounding, shooting, rolling, switching, etc.) and will allow the Nets to give their opponents different looks over the course of a game or an entire series.
Finally, Drummond is one of the elite rebounders in the entire NBA. Averaging 13.4 rebounds per game over his entire career, he has averaged as many as 16 rebounds per game in one season. The Nets are currently 14th in the NBA in total team rebounds, 44.8 per game, and Drummond will have a huge impact on that as he is currently first in the NBA in 36 minutes, with 17.3.
In addition to balancing their roster this year, the Nets hedged their future. They added a young star in Ben Simmons, who is under contract until 2025, while avoiding paying Harden a max extension this summer.
"In three years … we're going to be talking about James Harden like we're talking about Russell Westbrook and John Wall from a contract standpoint. That contract will be the worst contract in NBA history."
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 10, 2022
Finally, the trade gave the Nets two first-round picks, one being unprotected in 2022 that can be converted to 2023 if the Nets would like, and in 2027. They can either use these selections — Marks has a great track record of selecting players late in the first round — or they can use them as an asset to acquire a different piece down the road.
It might be a disappointing day for some Nets fans, as they were hoping to watch Harden, Irving and Durant win a championship together. While Harden will not be a part of the run, the Nets as a whole got better and should be competitive for this year and several years to come.