The Nets formed a new Big Three at the trade deadline, but Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons have yet to play a game together.
Now, after clinching the 7-seed for a first-round series against Boston, there’s a good chance that Simmons (back) could make his season debut in Game 3 or 4 in Brooklyn.
That’s good news for the Nets, who have dedicated 63% of their payroll to the trio — with a $33 million cap hit for Simmons alone.
- Durant, Irving, and Simmons account for $110M of Brooklyn’s $174.5M payroll.
- Brooklyn’s 10th-worst defensive rating (112.3) would improve immensely with the two-time All-Defensive First Teamer.
- Simmons’ 106.1 defensive rating in 2020-21 was tied for fourth in the NBA.
- With Simmons on the court last year, the 76ers had a 107.4 defensive rating, which would’ve ranked second.
This season’s Nets have posed a conundrum for sportsbooks and bettors: Brooklyn is a star-studded team on paper whose stars have barely played together.
Yet despite making the postseason as a 7-seed through the play-in, the Nets still have the third-best odds (+600) to win it all behind the Suns (+255) and Bucks (+475).
Brooklyn also has a slight advantage (-120) to win its series with Boston (-110) — but at Caesars Sportsbook, 98% of bettors have put their money on the Celtics to win the series.