In its annual NBA Insiders poll, ESPN reports that an overwhelming percentage of NBA pundits surveyed — 83.3% — think Kevin Durant will still be a Brooklyn Net on opening night two months from now. this week.
And unsurprisingly, the same poll puts the Nets at the top of the list of candidates for Team Turmoil and predicts the Nets will win just 40 games next season, down four from last year. And only one individual net picks up votes for a major award: Ben Simmons got 5.6% of the votes for Defensive Player of the Year.
It’s all part of the network’s annual summer forecast. It’s also a far cry from last year when the Nets topped the poll with 78.9% of ESPN’s NBA staffers believing the team would win it all, with Durant and James Harden leading the nominees for the MVP title.
Instead, this year the Nets are seen as nothing more than candidates after their disappointing 2021-22 season and disastrous offseason with KD demanding a trade and reportedly giving owner Joe Tsai an ultimatum, trade me. or fire the architects. from last year’s team, Sean Marks and Steve Nash.
Here is the analysis of where Durant will end up:
Durant became offseason history when he requested a trade from the Nets just a year after signing a five-year extension with the team.
The Nets have acknowledged Durant’s request and explored trade offers but haven’t found a partner who can meet their terms thus far, so Brooklyn is still the favorite for Durant’s services to start the season.
1. Brooklyn Nets: 83.3% of total votes
2. Boston Celtics: 5.6%
3. Miami Heat: 5.6%
4. Toronto Raptors: 5.6%
While that’s encouraging, the question wasn’t whether Durant will last the whole season.
As for Team Turmoil, the Nets have also been a clear winner, with more than 60% of respondents choosing Brooklyn as a center of negative energy in 2022-23 as they have been since late June when not only Durant asked for a trade, but Kyrie Irving decided to participate in the last year of his four-year contract rather than sign a contract below the maximum:
Our Team Turmoil prediction focuses on the teams that should be surrounded by the most drama this season.
The Nets earn the No. 1 spot as trade demand for Durant persists and Irving, who intends to stay in Brooklyn, has brought a lot of his own drama to the Nets over the past three seasons.
The Lakers could be even more restless after a disappointing previous campaign as Russell Westbrook is expected to return to a prominent role with the team after being an offensive liability last season.
1. brooklyn nets: 68 points (61.1% of first place votes)
2. Los Angeles Lakers: 49 points (27.8%)
It looks ugly. Otherwise, the Nets are a footnote to the summer forecast, with only Simmons ending up with a shot at an individual honor. Simmons, who was Rudy Gobert’s runner-up in the 2020-21 vote and was named to the All-Defensive Team twice before sitting out last season, ranks ninth in the ESPN poll.
No Net received votes for MVP, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player or Sixth Man of the Year. This hasn’t happened for years. The survey has a caveat:
Kevin Durant’s trade request could throw a wrench in the Brooklyn Nets’ season, but if he and Kyrie Irving hold their own in Brooklyn alongside a healthy Ben Simmons, they could make their playoff run next. deeper so far.
Still, ESPN picks the Celtics to win the East (42.1%) with the Bucks at 36.8% and the Sixers and Heat tied at just 10.5%. The panel also believes there will be a 2022 comeback in the Finals game, predicting the Warriors will win the West. Panelists give Golden State a 52.6 percent chance of winning the west, ahead of Team Turnaround, the Clippers, with 31.6 percent. No other Western Conference team got 10% of ESPN votes. The Warriors were also chosen to win back-to-back NBA titles with 36.8% of the vote.
For the big individual awards, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks garnered the most votes, just ahead of Luka Doncic of the Mavs and Joel Embiid of the 76ers. The Magic’s Paolo Banchero was the overwhelming choice for Rookie of the Year, Ime Udoka, the former Nets assistant who guided the Celtics to the final, beat the Clippers’ Tyronne Lue for the coach of the year. Rudy Gobert, now with the Timberwolves, is favored for Defensive Player of the Year victory for the fourth time and Monte Poole garnered over 77% of the vote for Sixth Man. Most improved player? Anthony Edwards, also from Minnesota.