Predicting Brooklyn Nets playoff rotation post-Ben Simmons trade

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant (Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)
Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant (Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Predicting Brooklyn Nets playoff rotation post-Ben Simmons trade
Mar 10, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Seth Curry (30) celebrates a basket with guard Ben Simmons (10) against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports). /

Predicting Brooklyn Nets playoff rotation post-Ben Simmons trade: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and LaMarcus Aldridge round out the starting five.

Despite not having played a single game this season, it’s fair to suggest that the Nets have to slide the former number-one pick, Ben Simmons, into their starting lineup for the postseason. Even with last year’s playoff woes and a season full of trade drama, Simmons remains an elite defensive talent with outstanding playmaking ability and tremendous mobility for his size.

Through the 2020-21 regular season, Simmons was a serious candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award thanks to his relentless, versatile style of defending. He’ll be a stout point of attack stalwart and weakside shot deflector playing off of two of the game’s most talented offensive powerhouses. They’ll empower him to focus on what he does best – blitzing his matchup on defense while exploiting defenses with his driving and passing.

Without Simmons in the lineup, sharpshooter Seth Curry has been the prize of the Harden trade for these Nets. Undoubtedly one of the best three-point shooters in the world, Curry plays well alongside KD and Irving by relocating around the court, moving the ball, and capitalizing on their gravity.

A 6-foot-2 shooting guard, attacking Curry will be a focal point of opposing game plans -particularly for teams like Chicago, Milwaukee, and Miami which have size and strength advantages in the backcourt. Even with that being the case, Curry possesses the play recognition and quick-twitch reaction speed to pester much of his competition.

The final spot in this rotation is the most tumultuous because there’s an argument to be made that LaMarcus Aldridge is the third-best big on the team right now. However, Simmons’ inability to stretch the floor puts Brooklyn in a bit of a bind. Starting one of Andre Drummond or Nic Claxton alongside Simmons would clog driving lanes and close off the dunker spot.

Though his three-point efficiency has been poor this year, Aldridge is a 37.6 percent shooter from deep over his last three seasons. That being said, tarting doesn’t assure that he will play more minutes than Claxton or Drummond, who have largely been more productive this season.

However, the floor-spacing and playoff experience that Aldridge brings to the table might draw the favor of head coach Steve Nash.