Buy Low Window On Brooklyn Nets Futures After Ben Simmons Trade?

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on February 28, 2022
Brooklyn Nets futures

The 2021-22 NBA season has not exactly gone according to plan for the Brooklyn Nets. In fact, little has ever since the team gathered together three of the best players in the world. It took some time and considerable losing, but Brooklyn Nets futures finally began reflecting the cracks in this team. After a solid month of injuries and other pain, the Nets have slid down the odds board and are no longer consensus favorites.

But, the tide may finally be turning in their favor. Buying low sometimes yields profits in the market. Is now the time to pounce on Brooklyn Nets futures?

We’ll look at three reasons for optimism regarding the Nets.

Kyrie Irving May Play Brooklyn Nets Home Games Soon

Star PG Kyrie Irving returned to the team in early January. However, he’s only played on a part-time basis due to a statewide mandate that effectively bars unvaccinated Nets players from playing in games in New York.

Now, the state plans to walk back its vaccine mandate “in the coming weeks,” according to Mayor Eric Adams. That would allow Irving to rejoin the team for home games as well.

With James Harden having been shipped out of town in a recent trade, that would be a highly welcome development for the short-handed Nets. They’ve been without the injured Kevin Durant for several weeks as well, leaving Patty Mills, Cameron Thomas and newly acquired Seth Curry to helm the offense in home games.

That’s not a recipe for success, as the team’s 8-18 record since the calendar turned to 2022 shows.

Losing regular season games, while not ideal, didn’t seem to concern the market whatsoever. Even as the Nets endured an unthinkable 11-game losing streak, they remained at or near the top of the futures board.

But, collective doubt was starting to mount. At what point does having only two of three stars become an expectation and not an anomaly? Incredibly, they only played 16 games together in more than a full season.

Getting Irving fully back in the fold represents a big step back up off the canvas. Having him play in home playoff games would be massive. Top DraftKings Sportsbook trader Johnny Avello quoted his worth as “1 to 1.5 points” of value, but that assumed the Nets “have the rest of their guys intact.” It’s going to be higher with Harden gone.

Kevin Durant Getting Close To Return

While Kyrie Irving and James Harden are certainly wonderful players to have at a team’s disposal, the true centerpiece of the Nets has undoubtedly been Kevin Durant. He nearly single-handedly led them to a series victory over the eventual champion Bucks last year, making a loud statement that he’s probably the best player in the world when healthy.

Of course, therein lies the rub. Durant has played just 53% of the team’s possible regular season games since signing on, not even counting the season he expectedly sat out rehabbing a torn Achilles. When he has played, he’s been spectacular with a 28.1/7.2/5.7 line on 58.5 eFG%.

He has missed about 20 games so far with a sprained knee. But, the team says they see the light at the end of the tunnel, with Coach Steve Nash hinting Durant will return by the end of next week.

Here is the key stat that should provide all the optimism in the world for the Nets: over a fairly decent sample of more than 1,200 possessions, lineups including Durant and Irving but no Harden had a +8.9 differential last season, per Cleaning The Glass. This lands in the 93rd percentile of all NBA lineups. They scored at a 98th-percentile rate of 122.8 points per 100 possessions.

What’s more, those 1,205 possessions were spread across dozens of lineups, none logging more than 110 possessions. Basically, it almost doesn’t matter who shares the court with them. Putting three warm NBA bodies with those two makes for an unstoppable offense.

If Durant returns and the Nets start reeling off wins again — they were strongly contending for first in the East when he went down — this price will correct in a hurry back to Nets as overall favorites.

Ben Simmons Should Fit The Brooklyn Nets’ Needs

If you want to call it a weak point — it was more of a middling point — the hole in those lineups came on defense. Their 113.9 points per 100 allowed checked in at the 40th percentile. Rebounding in particular proved a problem, no surprise with mostly smaller groups.

Well, Brooklyn just acquired a guy who has a rather strong ability to rebound and defend. Simmons is a better rebounder than any of the big men the Nets played last year or this year. He’s by far the best defender on the team with only a dialed-in Durant coming close.

Yes, nobody will guard Simmons when he doesn’t have the ball. But, that’s less of a problem in Brooklyn than it was in Philadelphia.

The key here is he can remain more of a threat near the basket now without compromising the spacing of the team’s best scorers. That wasn’t so with Embiid wanting to set up shop in the paint. Irving and Durant get to the rim at minuscule rates. Simmons has been in the 100th percentile three years running for rim attacks.

The team looks like it should have some offensive and defensive synergy between its top three players and its systems.

A Difficult Path Forward

Given the Nets still have the shortest consensus Eastern Conference odds at , we can feel pretty certain the market still considers them the best team at full strength.

The problem comes from what has already occurred. The Nets’ slippage in the standings has created a difficult path through the playoffs for them, barring an unexpected surge by their skeleton crew. They currently sit in eighth place, three games behind the sixth-place Celtics.

Even without factoring in the Celtics’ recent hot streak, it’s going to be tough for Brooklyn to avoid the play-in. About 20 games remain in the season, but the Nets still don’t have a firm return date for Durant and the vaccine mandate seems unlikely to change tomorrow. An optimistic reading of the situation would have the team at full strength for about 10 to 15 games.

Making up three games in that frame won’t be easy. And that assumes Toronto (currently seventh) doesn’t get hot again.

Even if the play-in goes swimmingly, the Nets probably then have to beat at least two of the conference heavyweights Miami, Milwaukee and Philly, while giving up home-court advantage.

Even discounting the play-in, we need an average price around -155 in these series and the NBA finals to do better than the +600 or so available in the futures market.

If you think the Nets will be bigger favorites than that on average, then buying in now on Brooklyn Nets futures makes sense. For reference, the market had them around -200 going into the Bucks series last year, though Brooklyn had home court.

It does seem like now or never for getting a good value on Brooklyn Nets futures, provided everyone returns to the court healthy in a mandate-free environment.

Mo Nuwwarah Avatar
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Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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