After enduring a rough 2021-22 campaign, the Brooklyn Nets–one of the favorites in the preseason NBA futures odds–could’ve used a strong start to the 2022-23 season.
That did not happen.
Instead of getting off to a good start, the Nets went through the following:
- A 1-5 start that led to head coach Steve Nash questioning the commitment of the players.
- Not long after, Nash and the team mutually parted ways.
- After flirting with suspended Celtics coach Ime Udoka, the backlash led them to promoting interim head coach Jacque Vaughn to the actual role through the 2023-24 season.
- Kyrie Irving missing eight games due to a suspension for posting anti-Semitic material and not apologizing for it.
That mess of problems led to a 7-9 start and saw the Nets’ futures odds of winning the NBA title go from +700 in the preseason down to +1500.
Nets Have Turned Things Around
From the point Irving returned in a game on Nov. 20 against Memphis (a 127-115 win), the Nets are 10-3 and are currently riding a run of eight wins in their last nine games. The only defeat has come at the hands of NBA-leading Boston on Dec. 4.
Irving has come out strong since the suspension, leading the team in points four times. The other key has been the health of Kevin Durant. He’s eclipsed the 30-point mark in seven of the last 10 Nets games.
Reliance on Durant and Irving Along With Simmons’ Health Are Question Marks
While the Nets have climbed back into the top tier of the Eastern Conference, oddsmakers clearly still have some concerns about Brooklyn.
Despite Brooklyn turning their season around, the Nets’ futures odds have not changed all that much (via FanDuel).
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The reason the odds haven’t improved is likely because the Nets are top heavy with Irving and Durant. It seems that you need more than a pair of superstars and little else to win an NBA championship these days.
Looking at the Nets’ leading game scorers, each one has been Durant or Irving–with the exception of this past Saturday’s win at Indiana when Cam Thomas led the team with 33 points.
If Ben Simmons can regain his old form by playoff time, it could make a huge difference in the Nets’ fortunes. Simmons, who missed time with an ankle injury in early December, is averaging 8.3 points per game in 27 minutes of game action. That production will have to improve after the Nets traded James Harden for the former No. 1 overall pick during last season.
There Remains Value in Nets Futures Odds
Despite the potential drawbacks, Brooklyn’s recent run of success cannot be ignored. They are climbing the standings and sit at No. 4 in the Eastern Conference after a horrid 1-5 start. If they pick things up and settle into a solid third behind the Celtics and Milwaukee in the standings, their odds should rise above the current +1500 mark. So if you feel like you’ve seen enough from Brooklyn to be sold, now is the time to jump on their futures odds.