In its annual ranking of NBA players, ESPN has placed six Nets in the top 100, led by Kevin Durant at No. 6. KD’s rank, the network concedes, is all about whether he can regain his status as an NBA superstar following an 18-month layoff.
The other Nets players in the top 100 are Kyrie Irving at No. 25 (down from No. 11, also due to injury concerns); Caris LeVert at No. 46 (up from No. 60); Spencer Dinwiddie at No. 49 (up from No. 76, the biggest jump among the Nets); Jarrett Allen at No. 94 (holding steady after being ranked No. 95 in 2019) and Joe Harris at No. 100 (down from No. 89 for some reason).
With six players in the top 100, the Nets are among the NBA leaders in the rankings. The Lakers also have six in the Top 100 with LeBron James and Anthony Davis ranked at Nos. 1 and 2.
Here’s the thumbnails by ESPN writers...
100. Joe Harris
Swing skill: Harris provides another viable offensive option if defenders sag off him to double-team Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant. He started in all 69 games he played in last season, shooting 48% from the field and 42% from 3 on nearly six attempts per game. Re-signing Harris was the team’s priority this offseason, and Brooklyn brought him back on a 4-year, $75 million deal. — Malika Andrews
94. Jarrett Allen
One big question: The Nets will have to decide who will start at center: Allen or DeAndre Jordan. The youngster was moved to the second unit behind Jordan last season, but in the bubble, Allen was Brooklyn’s only true center and showed improvement in his passing and finishing around the rim. — Andrews
49. Spencer Dinwiddie
One big question: What is his role? Last season, Dinwiddie began the year expecting to be the sixth man, but wound up starting 49 games as injuries hit the team. Dinwiddie said heading into this season that he envisions his role to be similar to Draymond Green’s role on the Warriors: “If we’re gonna liken ourselves to Golden State, the glue — the multipurpose utility guy.” — Malika Andrews
46. Caris LeVert
One thing to watch for: Before the Nets signed Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, LeVert was arguably the face of their young, tenacious squad. Now, with Durant and Irving healthy, LeVert is poised to emerge as a third star. “I feel like every single year I’ve gotten better,” LeVert said. “And I want to continue with that trend.” — Andrews
25. Kyrie Irving
One thing to watch for: How will Irving and Kevin Durant look next to each other on the court? We will find out soon. Irving had season-ending surgery to repair a right shoulder injury in February. Teammates such as Durant, Caris LeVert and DeAndre Jordan said he seems fully healthy and his lethal handles look as impressive as they did before the injury. — Andrews
6. Kevin Durant
Just how good Durant is 18 months after suffering an Achilles rupture during his final game with the Warriors is one of this season’s swing questions. Players coming off the same injury have been noticeably less effective than projected upon their return, and KD was already likely to experience some decline in his early 30s. At the same time, when last we saw Durant fully healthy in the first two rounds of the 2019 playoffs, he was making a case as the league’s most dominant individual force, and reports from players who have played with him during rehab have been encouraging.
The five players ahead of KD? James and Davis at Nos. 1 and 2; Giannis Antetokounmpo at No. 3; Luka Doncic at No. 4 and Kawhi Leonard at No. 5. Sounds like motivation.
CBS Sports has its own rankings with a few differences. CBS for example has KD at No. 7 and Irving at No. 23. Harris ranks No. 71 in the CBS rankings.