The Nets have already played the Bucks and 76ers, the NBA champion and the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season, respectively. And Wednesday, they’ll play host to the new-look Heat, who represent another good measuring stick.
“It’s good to see who you are early in the season, especially going into this next game,” Kevin Durant said of facing Miami. “We’re going to play four teams that was in the playoffs last year. It’s good to start the season off just seeing where you are individually and playing against different types of players. … That stuff is fun, just gauging yourself individually and as a team.”
The Nets are 2-2 after facing three teams that were in the playoffs (including the Wizards), and the Hornets, who were in a play-in game.
But Miami could be an entirely different caliber of foe. The Heat reached the NBA Finals two seasons ago, went 40-32 last season and actually came into Tuesday with the best scoring differential in the league.
The Heat added leaders, in Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker. One veteran Eastern Conference scout said point guard had been the single biggest glaring hole on the Heat roster. Tucker brings the toughness and defense that are very on-brand for Miami. While with Milwaukee last season, he guarded Durant during the second-round series and got into it with the Nets star.
Durant and five-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird were among those added to the USA Basketball’s board of directors Monday.
Durant and Bird are among five players — all Olympic champions — who were added to the board, which has been bumped from 11 members to 15. Joining Bird and Durant were Jennifer Azzi, Harrison Barnes and Seimone Augustus.
Kyrie Irving is the only Net listed on the injury report for the game against Miami. LaMarcus Aldridge, who was rested Monday on the tail end of a back-to-back, is expected to return.
The Nets assigned rookies Day’Ron Sharpe and Cam Thomas to their G-League affiliate Long Island for Tuesday’s practice, but both are expected to be available versus the Heat.
For Miami, two-way Marcus Garrett (G-League) and Victor Oladipo (right knee, injury recovery) are both out.
The Nets and Barclays Center parent company BSE had an Andy Warhol portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat on display Sunday and Monday in the newly debuted Crown Club. Several players, including Durant, Patty Mills and James Johnson, as well as assistant Amar’e Stoudemire, stopped by after the victory over the Wizards to look at it.