While Donovan Mitchell was never really discussed as a trade option for the Brooklyn Nets, his departure from the Utah Jazz has still shaken up the Eastern Conference.
NBA analyst Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report re-ranked the conference starting lineups following the Donovan Mitchell trade, putting the Nets franchise all the way at fifth. Swartz only listed the Cavaliers, 76ers, Bucks and Celtics starting five above.
“We know the Nets will start Durant, Irving and Simmons in some capacity this season. We don’t yet know at what positions, however, and who will be joining them. Simmons could be the team’s starting point guard or opening center, as his playmaking skills at 6’11” make him the NBA’s only player who could do both. Going big with Simmons at floor general and Claxton and Durant in the frontcourt is going to be the best defensive option for this group, although using Simmons at center and adding another shooter to the floor makes this offense borderline unstoppable. Harris is coming off two ankle surgeries, so Brooklyn may go with Seth Curry as their floor-spacer to start the season,
…. If Durant and Irving are on the floor, this team is bound to be good, no matter what. The star duo registered a net rating of plus-13.1 together last season on the back of an eye-popping 122.8 offensive rating. We don’t know what Simmons will look like coming off back surgery or what position he’ll play, for that matter. Only sixty percent of this starting lineup is set in stone at the moment, and availability issues are always a concern with this group. The Nets arguably have the most talented starting five in the East, but there are too many questions to rank them any higher for now.”