If 5 years ago, someone told me that the NBA would be the way it is now, I would have stared at them blankly because I was 12 and didn’t follow basketball.
But for real, I could never predict the landscape of the NBA: All-Stars recruiting other stars to join them, NBA teams hammering out massive trades (basically players controlling how teams operate). Just in the last 2 off-seasons, arguably the 3 best basketball players in the world have completely transformed the teams they picked in free agency. The last two years have been some of the most entertaining off-seasons in recent history. For players, it seems like many of their free agency decisions are determined before the prior season even ends. For others, they wait for major stars to commit first so they can make the best decision for themselves. Either way, once a commitment is made, it is difficult to reverse. That is why organizations and players work to reach deals that benefit both teams.
That leads to one of my biggest questions of this past year’s NBA free agency: Kevin Durant signing with the Brooklyn Nets.
For New Yorkers, this could mean the end of having to see both New York teams consistently underperform. In my opinion, Kevin Durant is not the problem. Its the combination of Kyrie Irving (who also signed a deal with the Nets) and Durant.
Throughout NBA history, it seems pretty consistent that when NBA stars team up, there is usually some growing pains. Think back to the Miami Heat, with LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade. Even though they went to the Finals their first year together, they lost because of their lack of chemistry. The Thunder with Melo, Westbrook and Paul George weren’t really championship competitors while it lasted. Even LeBron’s new team couldn’t make it to the playoffs last year. So it is expected that we will see that with the Nets. But sometimes it can be harder to create chemistry than other times. In this article, I want to talk about why I think everyone should think twice before jumping on the Brooklyn Nets bandwagon.
Due to the covid-19 outbreak, the NBA season has been suspended indefinitely. However, due to a leg injury suffered in last year’s finals, Kevin Durant was not going to play this season anyway.
Now Kevin Durant, despite his injuries, is one of the greatest basketball players of this generation. He is one of 4 players to average 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists a game throughout his career since 1974. The list he joins with those stats is Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James who are undoubtedly some of the best basketball players of all time. He is also a 10-time all-star, 6-time first-team all NBA, An MVP, a two-time Finals winner, and two-time Finals MVP as well. He has experienced a lot throughout his 13 year NBA career. One thing that will solidify his career? Winning a championship as the leader of his team. Remember. he was with the OKC Thunder for 9 years, 8 of those years with fellow MVP Russel Westbrook and they couldn’t win a championship. Then he went to the Golden State Warriors who were coming off a historic 72-win season and ended up with two championship rings. The Warriors were loaded with MVP Stephen Curry, and all-stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson already in the lineup. So now the real question is: could Durant win a championship not surrounded by all-stars?
One reason Durant claims he left the Warriors in free agency was that Stephen Curry was already the face of the Warriors franchise, and by that time he had accomplished his goal of winning an NBA championship. He also is quoted in 2013 saying “I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.” So, he wants to be the face of the franchise and win a championship. He also doesn’t want to be second. At first, choosing the Nets as a team makes sense then as they haven’t had that big of a star in years. However, what might make this situation difficult for Durant is who he chose to join the nets with: Kyrie Irving.
Before he joined the Warriors, Durant said one reason he left the Thunder was that Westbrook was too much of a ball-dominant player. He Later left the Warriors to get out of Stephen Curry’s shadow. Joining Kyrie Irving then doesn’t seem to fit Durant’s wants. Kyrie Irving requested a trade from LeBron James’ team to get out of James’ shadow. He spent the last two years getting accustomed to being a franchise player on the Celtics where he was the clear leader of the team. Remember, Durant is out this season with a leg injury. Despite missing several games and potentially the rest of this season with his own injuries, Irving has had this whole season to establish himself on the Nets without Durant. Irving averaged 27.4 points per game this season in the games he played. Durant averages 27 points per game for his career. There have also been some players that stepped up throughout the course of the season and have become local favorites such as Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. That may not leave much room for Durant to get the recognition he wants.
The Brooklyn Nets are currently 30-34 (Season may not continue due to coronavirus). This leaves plenty of room for improvement next season when Durant returns. It could also lead to a frustrated Durant if they do not improve and he does not get the recognition he wants. How do you think it will turn out? Let us know down in the comments section your thoughts.
Until next time,