Kyrie Irving has returned from suspension. Ben Simmons has mustered three consecutive games that echo his past excellence. And Kevin Durant continues to be Kevin Durant, a transcendent scoring machine averaging more than 30 points per game who's finally free of the head coach he tried to force out over the summer.
Throw in the chance to beat a battered Philadelphia 76ers team Tuesday night -- and pick up its third straight win for the first time this season -- and good vibes are emanating from the Brooklyn Nets.
Don't fall for any of it. This Nets team has nothing to offer but disappointment and drama.
Sure, the temporary sense of positivity, a Brooklyn Nets specialty, will surely spread if Simmons has another fine outing in his return to Philly. Or if Irving, having played only 26 minutes after returning from an eight-game suspension for promoting an antisemetic video, has a breakout performance.
Don't get sucked in.
The illusion may be stronger, but the farce remains the same: This talent-laden group is a timebomb -- not a title contender. They're all drama and no depth. They're the sparkle without a real chance at the bling.
Sure, as in all things in sports, they could pull an upset. The Durant-Irving-Simmons trifecta would gel, against all odds and history, and see a regular-season parade of victories that gives way to a playoff run worthy of all the hype that's been churning in Brooklyn since Kyrie and KD teamed up.
But history, common sense and a slew of NBA leagues sources say what's more common is more of the same: Drama, the contender okey-dokey, and an inevitable grotesque meltdown that reminds us who they were all along.
Star power is a must for a championship run, but chemistry is the secret sauce that has to accompany it. That's one of the reasons the Golden State Warriors, year after year, have dominated, with or without Kevin Durant: That locker room is full of real leaders, and real belief, and real togetherness -- or at least it was until Draymond Green punched teammate Jordan Poole in the face earlier this season.
This recent Los Angeles Lakers team tells the other side of the coin -- talent without togetherness can turn into recrimination without hope.