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The Brooklyn Nets believe the Philadelphia 76ers will be worse next year than this past season.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski informed everyone of the Nets’ intentions of the pick they are to acquire from their division rival. Since June 1 was the deadline to notify the league office over their decision to defer, it should send shockwaves throughout the rest of the league that Brooklyn does not think Philadelphia will be as good next season. They are rolling really the dice with the 76ers.
There are a lot of compounding factors here, but the biggest one is Brooklyn shorting Philadelphia.
By electing to defer, Brooklyn might believe Philadelphia is at best a first-round exit team in 2023.
Brooklyn Nets defer Philadelphia 76ers’ draft pick acquisition until 2023
Even if the 76ers have been processed, they do have two star players on their team in MVP candidate Joel Embiid and future hall of famer James Harden, as well as potentially an emerging one in Tyrese Maxey. Philadelphia could win the Atlantic Division next, but could also finish in fourth. Clearly, the Nets believe they will be better than their division rival throughout next season.
While a team’s overall record is largely out of another’s control, keep in mind that Brooklyn and Philadelphia play in the same division. In theory, they would have a greater impact on how the 76ers’ season shakes out as anyone, albeit, not by very much at all. This is a bold strategy by the Nets’ front office, but then again, this is just par for the course for this team’s current iteration.
This is the price you pay when you blow up a fun and interesting core to acquire Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. On paper, that trio is as good as any in basketball. The problem is they are the holy triumvirate of unreliability. Durant is a noted wanderer, Irving does not believe in mandates and Simmons has not played in a game since the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
If Philadelphia struggles, good for Brooklyn, but it is a bold move to not take a known commodity.