It's not particularly difficult to envision an NBA Finals showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, but one of the defending champions wants to see how the Eastern Conference team looks on the floor following Wednesday's marquee trade.
"They look good on paper, and we'll see how it goes when those guys get in between the lines and get a chance to play alongside each other," Lakers big man Anthony Davis said of the Nets, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
Houston ended up with Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, three Brooklyn first-round picks, one Milwaukee Bucks first-round pick and four Brooklyn first-round pick swaps. The Pacers landed Victor Oladipo and a second-round pick, while the Cavaliers came away with Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince.
Using patience and waiting to see what it looks like when the Nets are between the lines before crowning them is probably the correct approach.
While the cliche concern that there is only one ball may not apply in this scenario since Kevin Durant is accustomed to playing with other stars from his time with the Golden State Warriors, there are still some worries for Brooklyn even with KD, Harden and Kyrie Irving on the same team.
Irving has been away from the team for personal reasons and has not played since Jan. 5. There is no timetable for his return, and the NBA is now investigating video of him at a large gathering without a mask or social distancing.
There are also defensive concerns with a Harden-Irving backcourt from a size perspective with the latter and perhaps a quickness perspective with the former.
Depth may also be an issue now that Allen and Caris LeVert are no longer on the roster and Spencer Dinwiddie is out for the season with a torn ACL.
That's not to say this team will fall short of its championship goals. After all, stars make the difference in crunch time during the playoffs, and there are three go-to options with Harden, Durant and Irving all on the court.
It is difficult for any team, including the Lakers with Davis and LeBron James, to fully match that offensive firepower.
Still, it will be interesting to see how it plays out on the court, just as AD said.