Jastremski: First round flop for drama-filled Nets

On Monday, the Nets chaotic and disappointing 2021-2022 season came to a close with a major thud.

At the beginning of the year, the Nets were title favorites.

There was no possible way the Nets could be a 7 seed and get swept in the first round right?

Believe it.

In fact the Nets are the first preseason title favorite to be swept in the first round ever.

So, the preseason narrative would have suggested that there is no way the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets would be comparable teams.

After all, the Nets took down the Celtics in 5 games in the first round a season ago.

Well, the Nets and Celtics weren’t comparable teams this year.

The Celtics were flat out better.

The Celtics taking down Brooklyn shouldn’t surprise anyone who watched NBA Basketball over the last four months.

The Celtics played as a team, got better as the season went along and looked like a group that had cohesion and unity.

The Nets featured none of those qualities.

It’s tough to have cohesion when the so called “Big 3” of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden is broken up midseason.

It’s tough to have top notch team chemistry when Kyrie Irving missed almost all of your home games because of the vaccine mandate.

Plus the kicker, Ben Simmons the headliner in the midseason Harden blockbuster didn’t find his way into one Nets game this season.

You lay out that adversity plus the injury to sharp shooter Joe Harris and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Nets fell well short of their championship or bust goal.

The reality for the Nets franchise is simple going into this summer, the past three years haven’t been good enough.

If I told a Nets fan after the Durant/Irving signings in the summer of 2020 that their team wouldn’t have seen a title, an NBA Finals appearance or a Conference Final three years later, they wouldn’t have believed me.

The franchise and their two best players Durant and Irving have fallen short of very lofty expectations.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were outplayed by Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart in this series.

How was Brooklyn supposed to have a chance against this dangerous Celtics team when it’s two star players weren’t leading the way.

The Nets window is not fully closed, but it’s closing fast.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are not getting any younger.

Who knows what Ben Simmons will add if anything to the Nets next season?

Can Steve Nash lead the team as a championship caliber coach, for my money the jury is very much still out on that.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving can still write a happily ever after ending to this story, but they better start re-writing the script now.

Three years in, Nets fans haven’t gotten enough bang for their buck.

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Sunday & Thursday plus my picks on The Ringer Gambling Show every Tuesday & Friday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify & Apple Podcasts. You can also watch me nightly on SNY’s Geico Sportsnight.

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