The Nets have formed the league biggest Big Three, and with it great expectations. The team will be measured not by the regular season but the postseason, whether it can reach the NBA Finals — or even win them.
Still, at the proverbial midway point of the season — the All-Star break — it makes sense to step back and take stock of where the Nets stand. Brooklyn (24-13) is just a half-game behind Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia, and charging fast with 10 wins in its past dozen games to close the first half of the season.
The Nets open the second half on Thursday against Boston, with The Post grading the players, head coach and GM hoping to bring a first-ever NBA title to Brooklyn.
G James Harden
Harden has already played himself into the MVP race. It’s not just his penchant for triple-doubles or NBA-leading 11.4 assists, it’s the selflessness, leadership and the way he’s lifted everybody around him.
G Kyrie Irving
Freed from point guard duties by Harden, Irving is averaging a career-high 27.2 points and vying to become just the ninth man with a 50-40-90 (FG-3PT-FT%) season. Only missed time keeps him from an A-plus.
F Kevin Durant
Durant has made a stunning return from an 18-month Achilles layoff. Averaging 29 points, 7.3 boards and 5.3 assists. Again, it’s the 18 games missed — half the slate — that keep him from an A-plus.
G/F Joe Harris
Harris is living up to his new contract and taking advantage of the space provided by the Big Three. He’s leading the NBA in 3-point shooting (.506) and effective field-goal percentage (.689).
G/F Bruce Brown
Brown is not only the Nets’ best perimeter defender and a glue guy, but the 6-foot-4 guard works as a screener and roll man in inverted pick-and-rolls. He’s been a steal at $1.6 million.
F Jeff Green
Another steal on a one-year, $2.6 million deal. Green is shooting a career-best .422 from deep as a stretch-5, and fits defensively as the Nets switch 1-through-5.
C DeAndre Jordan
With Jarrett Allen traded, Jordan has largely been the only pure big. His stats are down and mobility fading, but he’s been reliable and available.
G/F Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
Despite getting a spot in the rotation and open looks, he’s seen last season’s .435/.388/.852 shooting splits fall to .389/.363/.769.
G Tyler Johnson
Despite hitting 41.2 percent from 3, he’s still only cracked double-figure minutes nine times. Unless he can improve his defense, playing time will be hard to find.
F/C Nicolas Claxton
After missing most of the season due to shoulder surgery, the second-year lefty has played just five games. But he’s already impressed in averaging 10 points and 1.4 blocks over just 15.2 minutes.
G Landry Shamet
After shooting just 28.6 percent from deep over his first 16 games — and getting dropped from the rotation with three straight games in which he did not play — he’s bounced back to hit 39.6 percent.
F/C Reggie Perry
Perry got a shot after Allen’s departure and struggled. He played well in the G-League, but with the addition of Blake Griffin, his chances may be scarce.
G Chris Chiozza
The 5-11 Chiozza spent most of the season down with Long Island. He survived the deadline to guarantee two-way deals, but with the G-League over, what’s next?
G Spencer Dinwiddie
He’s been rehabbing a partially torn ACL suffered in the third game, trying to come back. There’s trade interest in Dinwiddie, who has a $12.3 million option for next season.
Tyler Cook, Andre Roberson and Iman Shumpert
While Cook and Shumpert combined for just 28 minutes in six games, wing–defender Roberson has logged 63 and seems the best bet to be re-signed.
Coach Steve Nash
The rookie coach has dealt with Durant and Irving’s absences, the most starting lineups in the league and 23 different players — so far. His defense has gone from abysmal disarray to … middling.
GM Sean Marks
The hiring of Nash and deal for Harden were questioned at the time, and both look good … so far. Adding Griffin is a coup and there’s flexibility for more. But Marks’ grade will be based on the final. Or Final.