A Costly Gamble By The Brooklyn Nets Pays Nothing
When Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks traded James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in mid-February, he was essentially making a big bet. Now, down 0-3 to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, we may be seeing how that bet paid off. Essentially, the 46-year-old Nets executive bet on three players in that transaction and unfortunately for Brooklyn fans, it appears that he got it wrong.
Just to recap, Marks and the Brooklyn Nets sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks. Harden was done with the Nets handling of Kyrie Irving. So, instead of betting Harden, Marks bet on Kyrie being better than Harden and the possibility that Simmons would somehow return to form after not playing for 10-months and lead the Nets to an NBA championship.
Ok, I can briefly see that thought but then when you hear how they handled Simmons, you continue to scratch your head about Brooklyn's plan or lack there of. According to Kristian Winfield of nydailynews.com, Ben Simmons "has not played 5-on-5 all season, has yet to practice with any of the Nets’ current rotation players, and is only recently returning to form after receiving an epidural to alleviate the pain from the herniated disk he suffered in March."
Until Sunday, Sean Marks and head coach, Steve Nash, were telling the media that Simmons may be ready to play in Game 4. Really? Play what? So, we are supposed to believe that you can go from not playing for 10 months and step on the floor with 5 brand new players, except maybe Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, whom you haven't practices with in nearly a year, and you are going to beat the Boston Celtics? That is fantasyland spin in attempt to make a trade look less disastrous for the duration of the playoffs.
If there was any reality to that plan, then the Brooklyn Nets are in trouble. Marks did a great job luring the best NBA player available in Kevin Durant to Brooklyn. However, Kyrie Irving did not work out and it's doubtful that Marks and the Nets ownership will go down that road again after Brooklyn's season ends this week.
Ben Simmons is a complex young man that experts question if he will ever see play at Barclays Center in a Nets uniform. However, if he does, Simmons could be a really good player combined with Kevin Durant. NBA writers wonder Simmons has enough fire in the tank to play in New York. It's not easy. It will certainly be an interesting off-season. Let's hope that Marks puts his chips on the right players this time.