Shaping up potential contenders for Eastern Conference after James Harden trade


The Nets are 6-6 and seventh in the Eastern Conference. As of Wednesday night, this fact does not seem very important.

Brooklyn’s reported trade for three-time scoring champion James Harden signals an early season shift in the former’s balance of power.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, here are the terms of the deal:

What does the trade mean for the Sixers? How will Victor Oladipo trade Houston and work for the Pacers receiving Caris Levert?

Here is a preliminary overview of potential contenders in the past after the Harden deal (in no particular order):

The trap

Banking is aggressively overshadowing the trio of Brooklyn Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. As long as everyone is healthy and available, we think this is a good bet.

It may not be easy for first-year head coach Steve Nash to spread the offensive load among three very high-usage and highly talented playwrights, but Irving and Durant have effectively complemented other stars before. Harden did so early in his NBA career, playing as a sixth man on the Thunder with Durant and Russell Westbrook.

He has been used in isolation during his time in Houston more than any other NBA player, so adjustments will be needed from all sides. Last season Harden’s 14.1 isolation possessions per game was higher than any team (other than Houston). The coach of that offense is now a net assistant, Mike D’Antoni, and we think he will be an important part of the integration process.

The “healthy and available” part is far from a sure thing, for both the net and the NBA at the moment. Irving has missed the last four matches for personal reasons, and the league is now screening his video at a family birthday party on the occasion of his birthday, According to many reports. Durant was sidelined for the entire 2019–20 season after breaking his Achilles tendon. Meanwhile, Harden is known as a durable player. With the 31-year-old with $ 41.2 million this season and $ 44.3 million next year before a $ 47.4 million option in 2022-23, the Nets are sure he should be.

Sixes

A Harden trade very well defeated the Sixers team in the conference.

The team’s most obvious drawback is the perimeter shot formation, and this is what Hearty historically does at a great level. Seth Curry and Danny Green were useful drive-and-kick options for the All-Star eight times. As far as internal dominance, the Sixers have covered in Amby, one of the early MVP favorites and led the team 7–1.

The Sixers have both Embiid and 24-year-old Ben Simmons under contract through the 2022–23 season. If Daryl More, the president of basketball operations, decided to take Wizards star Bradley Beal seriously, the Sixers should be well positioned to arm him. If the Sixers determine their best to enter this postseason with a roster similar to their current position, we will learn a lot about the Simmons-Mbid pair.

Simmons’ versatile defense is elite and should not be dismissed, but the Sixers need to bend the ball less and score more efficiently. Whether or not a regular jump coincides with taking a shot requires that it make real progress and not be aggressively stable or stagnant. Through 10 games, Simmons has a turnover percentage of 21.7 and is scoring 109.7 points per 100 shot attempts to clear the glass. Both figures would be the worst of careers.

Fast bowlers

The 26-year-old Levert is on contract for the next three seasons, while Oladipo is an expelled deal. The opinion here, which should not be too controversial, is that Indiana did quite well.

LeVert, who averaged 18.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds for Brooklyn, is a good addition. However, can the Pacers upset any of the pre-determined top teams? This year could be a stretch, under their head coach Nate Björkgren, but Levert, Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis and Miles Turner are on contract through 2022-23.

Celtics

It is difficult to say much about the Celtics until they start playing the game again. All of Boston’s final three scheduled events have been postponed due to health and safety protocols.

When everyone is healthy, the 7-3 Celtic depend on Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum. Brown, who has 26.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists, remains better and better.

Kimba Walker was cleared to practice last week after missing the start of the season with persistent left knee issues.

The box

The Bucks’ offense is the league’s best so far by cleaning the glass, but Milwaukee hasn’t made a great start. Giannis Antetokunmpo is off through his prime, and the Bucks should be in the championship conversation as long as he is around. We’ll see how Milwaukee hired him in his first postseason with Junior Holiday.

Warmth

Another team is essentially sliced ​​in half by the NBA’s health and safety protocol, starting defending conference champions 4-5. Jimmy Butler, one of the players included in the protocol, has opened the season 0 for 7 over the three-digit limit. The league-wide COVID-19 situation is a concern, but Butler and the Heat do not have a slow start.

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