Brooklyn Nets still search for an identity before the All-Star break

Head coach Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Head coach Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets are continuing to play inconsistent basketball as they approach the All-Star break underperforming and barely in the playoff race.

Brooklyn Nets fans were ecstatic this past offseason with additions of All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant was expected to be an investment for the following season due to injury. Still, Irving has faced his battles with various ailments holding him out of the lineup for multiple games.

Another injury concern had been Caris LeVert, who missed 25 games due to a thumb problem hurting the team’s initial roster depth. The loss of LeVert and Irving pushed Spencer Dinwiddie to play more minutes in the starting lineup while forcing head coach Kenny Atkinson to adjust his rotations in a variety of unconventional ways. Atkinson spoke with the NY Post recently about his team’s status as the trade deadline quickly approaches Thursday afternoon.

"“It’s hard. You kind of don’t know how many different teams you’re evaluating, The fact that we’re pretty much whole besides [Kevin Durant], that’s super-important for our evaluation purposes. So hopefully we can continue that way. I do think you can evaluate the season in sections, depending on who was playing and who was not.”"

The Nets haven’t shown the ability to dominate long stretches of games throughout the season’s first half. The record is under .500 still enough to sit seventh in the Eastern Conference with a load of teams behind them struggling to qualify for the playoffs. A trade deadline deal sounds denoting but won’t do much to improve a team not expected to compete for a championship this season.

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There aren’t many impact players expected to be available at the deadline to make the Nets better this season. The identity of this year’s team should focus more on grit and fighting through adversity. Irving needs to have a strong second half of the year to prove he is indeed a leader and a professional to represent this franchise for years to come.