Ranking the 10 championship-less NBA teams by closeness to title

Kevin Durant #35 celebrates with Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns, title (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant #35 celebrates with Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns, title (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
6 of 11
Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets
Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

147. . . . Brooklyn Nets. 6. team

The Brooklyn Nets are in much the same boat as many other young teams trying to chart its path forward. The Nets have a track record of attracting big-name free agents, though – just ask Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, both gone but not forgotten in the borough.

A few years ago, it felt as if the Nets were dangerously close to a title. After all, they welcomed two superstars in KD and Irving into the inner circle. James Harden soon followed and it seemed like the next Big Three emerged from the inner bowls of the Barclays Center.

Obviously, things didn’t turn out as planned. Virtually every day of that era was a disaster for the Nets and by the trade deadline of this past year, it was already over with very little to show for it. Would things have been different if Durant’s foot wasn’t on the line in that memorable playoff defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks? We may never know.

What we know is that the Nets have at least one building block in Mikal Bridges. That might sound like a bold statement, but it’s only bold to those who didn’t watch Bridges dominate when handed the keys upon his arrival in Brooklyn. His two-way game is critical to this franchise.

Nic Claxton is a better center than he gets credit for. Cam Thomas can be a microwave scorer when given the opportunity. And while it’s easy to forget, there’s a former top overall pick lurking in the wings by the name of Ben Simmons. He’s been justifiably written off at this point, but more distance from his back surgery – and the chaos that has enveloped him in recent years – can’t hurt.

Re-signing sharpshooter Cam Johnson in restricted free agency would help, as would landing with some of the team’s numerous upcoming draft picks. The shine is off in Brooklyn, but they can still be sneaky competitive going forward and only need a few things to go right from there.