On NBARank, ESPN’s annual list of the top 100 in the league, the Nets’ new “Big Three” fell, down, down. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons all fell big. According to the global leader, KD is now 8th (down seven places), Kyrie 33 (down 13 places) and Ben 76 (down a whopping 48 places). 100 pcs. However, Seth Curry is 96th, but has fallen by eight places since 2021.
CBS Sports handled the Nets a little better, with Durant at third, Irving at 31, Simmons at 42, Curry at 87, and Harris at 95. Similarly, NBC Sports, which ranks in the top 20, has Durant in 2nd place (behind it) Antitokonmo);
Stephen A. Smith almost got involved when the numbers came in, noting that there are no five players in the world, better than a KD, let alone seven!
Of course, there are good reasons for the drops. The Nets’ top three played a total of 85 games last season for a variety of reasons: Durant 55 games because of a knee injury, Irving 29 because he refused a vaccination, and Simmons’ big fat goose egg after missing the season, first. In the case of then stopped with back pain that led to surgery.
The biggest surprise, of course, is Durant, who averaged nearly 30 points per game despite being torn in the MCL. ESPN put him between Ja Morant at number 9 and Jayson Tatum at number 7. Others who have preceded him include LeBron James at number 6, Steve Curry at number 5, Joel Embiid at number 4, and Luka Doncic at LA. 3. Nikola Jokic is in second place and Giannis Antetokounmou is the best player in the world. Only Carrie, who is 34, is older than him. KWD is 34 years old per week.
Here is ESPN’s logic laid out by Nick Friedel:
When Durant played, he was one of the best players on the planet. The problem for the former best player is that he can’t stay on the ground.
A knee injury cost him nearly two months of games, and for the second year in a row he had to miss a large part of the season. Durant has played 90 out of 152 potential regular season games over the past two seasons. Durant, who will turn 34 when the season approaches, must prove he can stay healthy until the Nets return to the Eastern elite.
Friedel also questions KD’s commitment to nets after his June trade order.
Health aside, the big question for the Networks is whether Durant will remain committed to the team. After a season filled with the emotional ups and downs of the organization, Durant’s commercial request and the surrounding uncertainty Keri Irving And the Ben Simmons The Nets made one of the coolest stories in the NBA. But what happens if and when times get tough? Will old frustrations grow?
For Irving, Friedel also refers to commitment:
Will he be a fully committed member of the team? Irving is one of the league’s most dynamic offensive guards – but his ability to be a fully invested member of the team he plays for remains in doubt. After missing most of last season for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine and missing parts of the 2020-21 season for various non-basketball reasons, Irving has to prove that he can play at a high level night after night on the court and not be a distraction from him.
On Simmons, Friedel notes that all eyes will be on Simmons on the night of November 22 when the Nets travel to Philadelphia:
The backlog of this game has been increasing for over a year. We got a taste of what would have happened last March when Simmons, who was replaced at Brooklyn, was traded for a package centered around James Harden Right before last season’s deadline, he was at the center of a raucous boo and “F—Ben Simmons!” Cheer all night while sitting on the bench with his new teammates. There will be a lot of emotion in the building between two teams who think they can climb to the top of the East.
In the CBS Sports ratings, reporters provide some interesting analysis, like these on Harris by Sam Quinn:
Be sure to guess how many non-Splash Brothers made more than 41 percent of 3 hits in four or more attempts per game five consecutive years? Surely Reggie Miller did it, right? no. Ray Allen? Sorry. Kyle Korver? Guess again… How about Harris? And just Harris, an East Coast hipster in response to the Golden State Revolution. Harris has led the NBA in the 3-point ratio twice over the past four seasons: once with three stars around him and once with none. He was on his way to his third crown in four seasons before suffering an ankle injury a season ago. If that ankle holds up this season, he will contend for the highest mark in the league once again.
And Colin Ward Henninger’s notes on Durant:
Regardless of the trade requirements and Twitter activity, Durant remains the top scorer in the game. He ranked 79 percent or higher in singles, pickups, spot-recording and post-hitting for last season, according to Synergy Sports — the true definition of an Aquarius. What takes Durant to the next level, however, is constantly improving his playmaking ability. He averaged 6.4 assists per game last season, and led all attackers in points per possession including assists (with a minimum of 1,000 possessions), according to Synergy. At nearly 7 feet tall, Durant (who turns 34 on September 29) is just as unstoppable as the attacking players come in.
Bottom line: Of course, it’s disappointing then Cheat code ratings last year. But a lot has happened over the past 12 months and it’s not a bad thing to have five players – Durant, Irving, Simmons, Harris and Carey – in the top 100 by one analysis or the other is not a bad thing. And none of it will matter as of October 19.