Three Big Stars Help Nets Seize Role As NBA Title Favorites

EmpireStakes.com

By Mark Strotman

There’s no denying the Brooklyn Nets are the NBA’s most talented team when the stars are all healthy. What does come into question is whether they can remain healthy for the duration of a rigorous postseason long enough to earn their first NBA title in franchise history.

Nets’ Title Odds Keep Shortening

Oddsmakers aren’t too concerned about the injuries with time left in the regular season for them to bring everyone back. Brooklyn’s +250 online sports betting title odds are currently the best in the league, better than the Lakers (+340), Clippers (+500), and Bucks (+650) at DraftKings. In fact, the Nets’ title odds are the second shortest odds any team has had all season, trailing only the Lakers’ +250 odds before the All-Star break.

The talent is undeniable. Kevin Durant is back to his pre-Achilles tear form, James Harden hasn’t skipped a beat in his new uniform and Kyrie Irving might be posting the greatest individual season by a team’s No. 3 scorer in NBA history. Recent additions of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge add to Brooklyn’s depth and veteran experience, two factors that matter greatly in the postseason.

Toss in solid role players such as Joe Harris, Jeff Green, Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet, and the Nets have all the makings of a contender under first-year head coach Steve Nash.

Nets Injuries A Real Concern

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Brooklyn has one of the league’s best records, but the team is dealing with myriad injuries to key players. Durant recently returned from a hamstring injury that cost him more than seven weeks and Harden continues to deal with hamstring injuries of his own that typically can linger for months. With the NBA playoffs set to begin the second week of May, that could pose issues.

Irving, who has played more than 70 games just once in his past six seasons, has missed more than a dozen games himself. Griffin is a shell of himself and has missed ample time over the past two seasons with reoccurring knee injuries. Just since joining the Nets in early March, Griffin has already missed a few games for maintenance.

Outlook Bright If Brooklyn Can Stay Healthy

The good news is that despite all their misfortunes, the Nets remain in the thick of the hunt for homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference. They tout the most potent and efficient offenses in basketball by just about any metric, and there’s no substitute for the cumulative postseason experience here.

There’s also no consensus favorite in the East and the path to the Finals looks much easier there than in the West. Milwaukee has holes, Philadelphia has dealt with injuries and Boston can’t seem to find any consistency despite such a talented roster.

The pieces are all there for the Nets. Oddsmakers agree. The best ability is availability, and it feels like the only thing standing in the way of the Nets and a Finals appearance is the injury report. A bet on the Nets is more of a bet on the ligaments of their three All-Stars than any on-court performance. The NBA Playoffs begin May 22. Set your calendars.

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WRITTEN BY
EmpireStakes.com
Mark Strotman
Mark Strotman is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports. He covered the NBA Playoffs in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 as well as Team USA Basketball in 2014 and 2016. He has also covered high school football and was nominated for a Midwest Emmy in 2016 for his work on a documentary featuring local Chicago product and NFL prospect Miles Boykin.
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Mark Strotman is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports. He covered the NBA Playoffs in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 as well as Team USA Basketball in 2014 and 2016. He has also covered high school football and was nominated for a Midwest Emmy in 2016 for his work on a documentary featuring local Chicago product and NFL prospect Miles Boykin.
... Read More