NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Can the Brooklyn Nets Be Trusted?
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant #7 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets.
Brooklyn Nets Win Total Odds
The Case for Staying As Far Away As Possible
I am not going to do the cases for the over and under here. There’s just no point. You know the deal.
They have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Ben Simmons looks like he’s ready to contribute. They added TJ Warren, have Joe Harris back on the floor, and have a surprising amount of continuity with the roster. On any given night, Durant can be the best player in the world. He was the MVP leader before his injury last season.
Irving remains a top flight point guard. He’s an elite shot creator. Simmons has said all the right things and the team is clearly invested in building his confidence back up after the disastrous drama of the past two years.
The roster is good, it just is.
All that said, in the games where both Durant and Irving have played for the Nets the past two seasons, Brooklyn is 28-21 (57%).
That’s really good … it’s also a 47-win pace.
Think about that. When they had Durant and Irving, their two key guys, they’ve still won just 57% of the time. They need to win 62% of their games to get to the over. With Irving and without Durant, that number drops to 52.5%.
With Irving and without Durant and James Harden, who you will note is no longer on the roster, they won just 38% of their games the past two seasons.
The Nets are also across the key 50-win mark in the market. Teams with a win total of 50 or more are 31-16-1 to the under the last 10 years (64.5%).
This number jumping back to 51 wins after Kevin Durant retracted his trade demand, which notably was linked to firing the coach and general manager, is a little absurd.
It’s under or nothing here. So why not go under?
Because Irving is in a contract season. And for a player that constantly talks about how his game is “art” and about how he’s not in it for the traditional reasons, Irving has never turned down a payday, from Cleveland to Brooklyn to Pepsi to a movie entirely built around a character developed in his Pepsi commercials.
With the COVID mandate lifted (at least for the foreseeable future) there’s nothing to keep Irving off the floor.
More importantly, Durant has a lot to prove at this point. Durant’s injury status is going to be concerning going forward; he’s played at an All-NBA level but after his Achilles surgery, he’s missed time each of the past two seasons since his return.
I don’t want to bet against Durant. I don’t want to bet on Irving.
The conversation around Irving is about him missing time because of the COVID mandate. Irving has missed time for multiple reasons. It is pretty fair at this point, no matter how you feel about the validity of Irving’s various situations, to expect him to miss some time that isn’t related to injury.
But when Irving misses time and Durant plays, the Nets are 10-3 in the last two years (without Harden). Throw in Harden and that number goes to 22-11 (66.7%).
If this was “Durant, Simmons, and some good role players,” I’d feel better about it than trying to guess when and how much Irving is going to play.
Steve Nash is a pretty bad coach on his own. That’s apparent from how the offense looked last year without his key assistants from the run the season before.
He brought in former Phoenix Suns coach Igor Kokoskov this season; maybe the European veteran will provide something resembling a structure to the offense. I’m skeptical. I think the problem goes beyond the principles and into how the stars treat that game plan.
No coach in the NBA has anywhere near as much power or leverage as the star player, but in Brooklyn, the power balance borders on making Nash irrelevant. That’s just been proven to be unhealthy for team outcomes over and over.
Again, you may ask, why not bet on the under?
Because the Nets can rattle off a 20-5 start and then Durant gets hurt and I’m sweating the rest of the way. I don’t have any interest in trying to anticipate this team, its interests, its motivations, its potential.
You should only consider the under at any number over 50, but ultimately the best thing to do is stay far away from this team and this number. If you bet on them and they cruise over, you get to feel like a genius, but if they once again disappoint, you’ll only have yourself to blame.
The Nets have are too good to fade and yet have not earned the trust of your money.