Previously, I talked about the strong core that the Nets have to complement the talents of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. I appreciate the work that Sean Marks has done to construct a talented team. However, he has left some of the fans wondering, is this team powerful enough to defeat the Bucks, Lakers, or Clippers? Trading for a third star may seem like the logical move to be competitive in the star-dominant NBA. In this article, I will be analyzing four potential trades for a third star as well as determining if this trade would benefit or hurt the future of the Brooklyn Nets. In my opinion, the third star would have to contribute to the success of the team without always being ball-dominant. For each scenario, given the star power the Nets would receive, it is assumed that the Nets would offer a trade package similar to Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris Levert plus picks.
Klay Thompson is one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA. He has a career 3P% of 41.9, and he averaged 21.5 PPG last season. Thompson is a five-time All-Star, and he was a pivotal component to the Warriors championships in 2015, 2016, and 2018. Klay Thompson is also an excellent perimeter defender, and he does not need the ball in his hands to be effective. Klay takes shots in the flow of the offense, which would allow him to fit within the existing team chemistry. The starting lineup with Klay Thompson would be Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Jarrett Allen. This lineup would spread the floor, but there would still be the penetrators of Irving and Durant. KD and Kyrie’s midrange talents could pair well with two of the best shooters in the league and a developed Jarrett Allen.
Kawhi Leonard has developed into arguably the best two-way player in basketball. So far this year, Kawhi is averaging 26.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 5 APG. He has played excellent offensively to establish himself as the captain of a Clippers team with the ultimate goal of a championship. In addition, Kawhi has continued his stellar performance on defense with 1.8 steals per game and a defensive rating of 104.6. His spectacular defensive performance is no surprise considering he is a two-time defensive player of the year award recipient. Similar to Klay Thompson, Kawhi does not always need the ball in his hand to be effective. The starting lineup with Kawhi Leonard would be Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan. This lineup may struggle with court spacing. However, the combined talents of these players are sure to create mismatches on the court.
Some people believe that the Nets path to success is to trade for a big man. And if that is the case, there is no better big man in the NBA right now than Anthony Davis. Opponents fear the incredible combination of size, strength, and athleticism that Davis brings to the court. AD can score, and he has proven this with his average of 26.7 PPG on 51.1% shooting for his 2019-20 campaign. He can also defend with the fourth-highest defensive rating in the league (100.8) and rebound with the best power forwards and centers in the NBA. The Nets starting lineup with Anthony Davis would be Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and DeAndre Jordan. In my opinion, this lineup could match up with any team in the league, given the talent that the lineup would bring on both offense and defense.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been tearing up defenses with his strong moves to the basket and his stifling defense. The man stands at 6 feet 11 inches and can handle the ball better than some guards in the NBA. He has the best defensive rating in the league this season at 96.2, and he also averages a block and a steal per game. On the offensive side, Giannis has averaged 29.6 PPG on 54.7 percent shooting this season with 5.8 APG. He is also third in the NBA with an RPG of 13.7 this season. Giannis could bring so much talent to an already loaded Nets team to make them favorites to win a title. The starting lineup would be Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Deandre Jordan. It is difficult for me to imagine another team defeating this lineup of elite performers.
Should the Nets make these trades?
While these starting lineups look great with the third star, it is crucial to remember that the Nets would lack sufficient bench support if they traded Dinwiddie, Levert, and DeAndre Jordan. I believe that the Nets with Dinwiddie, Levert, and Jordan would do better than the Nets with three stars. There is only one basketball, and three stars may have a hard time establishing team chemistry. While I do not believe the Brooklyn Nets need to add a third star, Giannis Antetokounmpo would be my top pick because of his defensive talents and his unmatched ability to score in the paint. I trust Sean Marks to decide if the Nets require the third star to be successful, and I believe that the Nets can compete for a championship next season either way.
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