The Brooklyn Nets finished last season with a record of 45-37, which earned them the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The franchise experienced significant changes in its roster. Most notably, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were traded while former Head Coach Steve Nash resigned. Now, the Nets will enter a new season that brings excitement back to the borough. The 2023-24 Brooklyn Nets projected starting lineup features dynamic two-way players that will immediately impact winning.
Two-Way Monsters: Brooklyn Nets Projected Starting Lineup for 2023-24
Point Guard: Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons is precisely the player the Brooklyn Nets need to help lead their team. He is a two-way monster who excels at playmaking, scoring inside, and defending multiple positions. Last year, he averaged a lackluster 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists, but he will not be the same player. Simmons is finally healthy and has displayed conditioning and skill work that should allow him to return to elite form. Take his own word for it.
“For me to come back and dominate will be great. I don’t intend to come back the same player last [season] because that’s not even close to where I am,” Simmons said via ESPN Andscape.
He added, “I don’t think people realize how bad [my back injury] was in terms of physically how I was feeling and what I was able to do on the floor… But I feel I’m at 100% now.”
The former All-Star and All-Defensive player needs to be at his best for Brooklyn to have a chance to win.
Shooting Guard: Spencer Dinwiddie
Spencer Dinwiddie was traded back to the Nets midseason last year. While his calling card is playmaking, he is an elite shot-creator who will be a reliable scorer. Dinwiddie averaged 17.3 points last season and ranked 10th in NBA isolation scoring. He has proven to be an effective sixth man, but his offensive ability is sufficient enough for him to start. When he is not playmaking, he can slash to the rim and create shots to help Brooklyn have a steady flow of offense. In addition, his fifth-ranked defensive plus-minus stat amongst point guards makes him another two-way weapon.
Small Forward: Mikal Bridges
Mikal Bridges is the headline of the Brooklyn Nets starting lineup. Bridges has the makings of a two-way star. He averaged 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists last season. During the 2021-22 season, he was an All-Defensive 1st Team selection and the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up. The Nets need Bridges to be their primary scorer and lockdown defender on the perimeter. His improvement after being traded to Brooklyn last year was phenomenal. He increased his scoring and efficiency in multiple areas. Expect him to take a similar leap with the Nets’ reigns in his hands.
Power Forward: Cameron Johnson
Cam Johnson comes off a summer where he was awarded a four-year, $108 million dollar deal. The Brooklyn Nets are high on him due to his elite shooting and versatile defensive abilities. Johnson averaged 16.6 points and 1.4 steals per game after being traded to Brooklyn. His three-point percentage sat at 37.2%, but he is a career 39.2% shooter. He showed glimpses of his hot shooting ability during the 1st round of the playoffs last spring. Johnson has the size and length to guard power forwards and switch to smaller defenders. Moreover, he will be one of Brooklyn’s most important floor spacers.
Center: Nic Claxton
Brooklyn’s starting lineup is headlined with top-tier defensive talent, but Nic Claxton is arguably the most important piece. He anchors the Nets’ defense and provides a reliable paint presence. Last year, he blocked 2.5 shots per game, which ranked him 2nd in the NBA. Claxton is often seen switching defenders, guarding on the perimeter, and providing consistent help defense. This makes him one of the most valuable defending centers in the league. Furthermore, Claxton has just scratched the surface of his offensive potential. After averaging 8.7 and 6.6 points for the last two years, respectively, he lept to 12.2 per game this past season. He has also been seen working on his perimeter shooting this summer:
— NetsKingdom 👑🗽 (@NetsKingdomAJ) June 7, 2023
The Brooklyn Nets have a history of exceptional player development, and Claxton is the next big product. He has the potential to be one of the best centers in the league, especially if he can reliably space the floor. He needs to maintain his high level of play for the Nets to compete with elite teams.
The Last Word on the Brooklyn Nets Projected Starting Five
The Brooklyn Nets have an array of terrific two-way players on their roster. With improved depth from last year’s blockbuster trades, Brooklyn has the ability to put out a starting five that will be a nightmare for opposing offenses and multiple weapons of attack against defenses. If the Nets can build enough chemistry together, they will be one of the best young starting fives in the NBA.