The Brooklyn Nets have had quite an eventful offseason after a first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. Kyrie Irving drama soon turned into Kevin Durant drama, with KD demanding a trade right after Irving decided to exercise his player option for 2022-23 and right before free agency.
In the end, Durant shocked the NBA world and rescinded his trade request on Tuesday. He reportedly met with the team’s front office and decided it was best to continue in Brooklyn. With this settled for the time being and Irving almost certainly sticking around for now as well, Nets fans can crack a smile with hopes of a good 2022-23 season.
With two All-NBA-level players, plus the return of Ben Simmons, Brooklyn is in a promising spot even after all this messiness. With the star forward and the Nets’ relationship fixed for now, here are three bold predictions on what to expect from the Brooklyn Nets for the 2022-23 season.

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3. Ben Simmons will lead Nets’ defensive powerhouse
It has been a very long year for Ben Simmons. The former No. 1 pick did not appear in a single game in 2021-22 due to a conflict between him and the Philadelphia 76ers organization, plus a back problem that ultimately required surgery.
Despite all the problems surrounding Simmons recently, he has reportedly been participating in three-on-three basketball activities and will be cleared for five-on-five soon. Should he return as his former self, things will be scary for the Nets’ opponents.
When healthy, Simmons is an All-Star and All-NBA player. Even though the league recognizes his offensive limitations, his biggest impact comes on the other side of the floor. He is a two-time All-Defensive First-Team member and led the league in steals in 2020.
Since he is unlikely to be one of the primary scoring options, Simmons can focus on defense and playmaking. With Brooklyn bringing back Nic Claxton and trading for Royce O’Neale, the team will have a stronger perimeter and rim protection. Additionally, Durant’s return should also contribute to the team’s defense.
Do not be surprised if the Nets have one of the best defenses in 2022-23. Also, if he is fully healthy, Simmons is a real contender for All-Defensive honors and Defensive Player of the Year.
Durant and Irving earn All-NBA honors

Although they haven’t played much together in two years, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving make for a scary duo when they’re actually on the floor together. Availability has obviously been a problem for these two since coming to Brooklyn, with Irving’s COVID-19 vaccine drama hanging over the franchise last season. Kyrie put up stellar numbers when he did play in 2021-22, averaging 27.4 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds after putting up a 50/40/90 campaign in 54 games in 2020-21.
Despite missing some time in 2021-22, Durant still had an excellent season for the Nets. He averaged 29.9 points, a career-high 6.4 assists and 7.4 boards. He also had an efficient year, shooting 51.8% from the field, 38.3% on 3-pointers and 91.0% on free throws.
The problem is that they have only played in 45 games together in three years since signing with the organization. It’s worth noting that Durant sat out his first year with the franchise because he was recovering from an Achilles injury.
Both have multiple All-NBA selections, and with a potential breakout season as a duo, it’s possible both add another honor to their résumé. With this possibly being the first season of the Nets with a healthy big three, they could be in line for a deep postseason run.
1. The Nets will finally make to the NBA Finals
After many seasons trying with a superteam, the Nets have their best chances of making it to the NBA Finals. In 2019-20, the team was without Durant for the entire season and Irving missed the entire postseason.
Then, in 2021, Brooklyn was an inch short of the Eastern Conference Finals. Durant hit a long jumper that was ruled a 2-pointer as he barely stepped on the 3-point line in Game 7 against the Milwaukee Bucks, with the Nets then losing in overtime. Last season, after a close game-winning layup by Jayson Tatum, the Celtics completed a sweep at the Barclays Center.
Following the failed experiment with James Harden, Brooklyn will try to improve its playoff performance with a mix of elite offense and defense. With the already mentioned All-Defensive player in Simmons, the Nets finally have someone who’s defensive-minded to contain players such as Tatum and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Should the Nets’ entire big three stay healthy, things will look good in Brooklyn. Durant and Irving have the championship experience that the franchise as a whole needs.
Brooklyn also brought back guard Patty Mills, who won a title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. If they keep Joe Harris and Seth Curry, the Nets will have quality shooters who can take some of the pressure off the big three’s shoulders.
With Irving in a contract year and Durant coming off a trade request, there’s plenty of urgency for Brooklyn. The window for a ring for the Nets could be closing. If Brooklyn really wants a championship, the front office will do whatever it takes for it to happen in 2022-23.
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