The short answer is no one.
Y’all don’t believe me? Then let me ask you a question: what NBA team out there can stop a squad with THREE prolific scorers in their prime?
One is a proven big shot taker (Kyrie Irving). The other is a big-time scorer who can easily get others involved (James Harden). The the last of the three is not only a proven big shot taker and a big time scorer, he doesn’t have to be ball-dominant to do some damage (Kevin Durant)!
Still not convinced? Let’s look at the Brooklyn Nets’ biggest competition…
Yes, they have the MVP favorite in Joel Embiid, who is second in the NBA in scoring (30.2 ppg), tied for fourth in rebounding (11.6 rpg) and has been the driving force behind the Sixers leading the Eastern Conference by a half-game over the Nets. They also have Ben Simmons, who in addition to being a damn good point guard is a defensive dynamo on the perimeter. That Tobias Harris kid is pretty good, too.
And last I checked, Doc Rivers is STILL one of the best coaches in the NBA.
If the Sixers can’t use Embiid to exploit the Nets’ lack of a defensive presence down low, it’s a wrap. And can any of them check Durant, Harden and Irving? ANYONE? BUELLER?
Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka “The Greek Freak”, is still balling out of control. Khris Middleton (can someone PLEASE change the spelling of his first name?) is playing well this season.
Can Giannis really check Durant? Could any other Bucks player check Harden and Irving? And until the Bucks can prove that they can get over the hump in the playoffs, I’m not buying them — and neither should you.
The Jazz are a great story. They are in the top three in both scoring and in points allowed. Donovan Mitchell is a freaking superstar and Rudy Gobert is still a defensive stud. Quinn Snyder is a lowkey Coach of the Year candidate.
Mitchell may match up well against Irving, but what about Harden? Does Gobert really have the foot speed to stay with Durant?
And if that’s not bad enough: just like the Bucks, the Jazz have to get over that hump in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Clippers
Everyone and their mamas know how talented the Clippers are.
Kawhi Leonard. Paul George. Both those cats can play some defense, and are among the best two-way players in the game. Lou Williams coming off the bench and lighting shit up. Ty Lue has proven to be a “made man” among the current NBA coaches.
The problem is this team, while improved, still does not have the best chemistry. They don’t have a bonafide closer. Their best players (Kawhi and George) aren’t the vocal leaders they need to be. And while Kawhi and George are great defenders, who else on the Clippers could check the third head of the Nets’ three-headed monster?
One more thing: George needs to start playing like “Playoff P” instead of “Pandemic P).
And last, but not least…
Los Angeles Lakers
They are the defending champs. They have the best player in the world in LeBron James. There’s this Anthony Davis fellow who’s not too shabby. They are arguably the best defensive team in the league.
I think the Lakers have to get Davis’s health in check first. They ain’t winning shit without him.
Similar to the Sixers, if they can’t take advantage of the Nets’ lack of size and post-talent with Davis, it’s a wrap. And similar to the Clippers, while LeBron and Davis can play defense, what other Laker could take on the third head of the Nets’ three-headed monster?
Moral of the story: the only team who can stop the Nets from winning the championship is, well, the Nets. To borrow a line from the late, great Dennis Green – “crown their ass!”