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Brooklyn Nets bubble exit interview: A lot of optimism should be main takeaway

Despite the sweep by the Raptors, the Nets showed promise without two superstars in the bubble. We take a look at the future for Brooklyn.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets have a laugh during a game against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center on December 26, 2019 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Nets 94-82. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets were expected to be an absolute joke entering the NBA bubble in Orlando. We ended up being the joke. The Nets got the last laugh. Well, not really, they got swept by the Toronto Raptors in the first round. That’s besides the point. The Nets showed a ton of promise for the future playing without an entire starting lineups worth of players. They outperformed a lot of people in the seeding round and gave the defending champs a few games before exiting. Let’s take a look at what the offseason will bring.

Brooklyn Nets exit interview

How should the Nets feel after losing in the first round?

Great. The team shouldn’t take any negatives from the loss to the Raptors. It’s the defending champs and you’re missing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, Wilson Chandler, Keith Van Horn, Kerry Kittles, Derrick Coleman. Wait, what? You get it though. This Nets team would have been scary with all of those guys (or at least the ones still playing in the NBA). So yes, the development of this team overall is a positive.

Caris LeVert showed that if he were “The Guy” on this team, he’d probably contend for an All-Star spot. Insert two actual All-Stars and a legit starting PG and LeVert should blossom into one of the best teammates and role players in the NBA. Joe Harris is an above average shooter and those come at a premium in today’s NBA. Same goes for TLC, who could really do some damage in some lineups with KD and Kyrie. If all Jarrett Allen has to do is clean the glass and play D, I think he’ll be just fine next season.

The Nets are going to be very, very good in 2020-21 if everything works out in their favor.

Should the Nets bring back Joe Harris?

If they can, absolutely. It’s hard to find premier shooters in the NBA and Harris is one of them. He led the NBA in 3-point shooting last season at 47% and had a down year in 2019-20 at 42%. That’s the life of a shooter. Harris was also taking way more shots this season, up to 5.9 3PA from 5.1 the season he led the League. That’s almost 1 more 3-pointer per game. It’ll be a lot easier shooting the ball wide open with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court.

I think if you’re Harris, you take a short-term deal that is team-friendly to try and help Brooklyn win a championship. Ultimately, I think the Nets let Garrett Temple walk and use his salary and Wilson Chandler’s money to get Harris back. The Nets have some luxury tax space and really shouldn’t care too much about dipping into that realm if it means you can shore up a championship contending team.

Who should the Nets target at No. 19 in the 2020 NBA Draft?

The Nets have a first-round pick from Philly via the Clippers. It’s just inside the top 20, so Brooklyn can add a decent player. The draft isn’t deep or talented, but has some guys who could go overlooked or drop down.

A wing player or additional big man makes the most sense. Looking at the depth chart, you have Kyrie, Dinwiddie and LeVert soaking up most of the back court minutes. Harris and TLC are also there. You’ve got some question marks at center behind Allen with DeAndre Jordan getting up there in age. Luckily, he’s got a whole year practically to rest. There’s prince, Dzanan Musa and KD on the wing, but not much else.

Saddiq Bey out of Villanova would be a solid add. Nova coach Jay Wright has produced solid NBA players who generally go overlooked in the draft. Vernon Carey out of Duke has some size and is more of a project. He likely wouldn’t be ready to contribute for another 2-3 seasons, but imagine if he pans out as a backup big on a team with KD and Kyrie.