Superstar forward Kevin Durant is once again centered around a stacked roster. The two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player was once a vital member of the Golden State Warriors’ famous “Hampton Five” lineup. But now, KD has taken his talents to the “Big Apple” with the Brooklyn Nets.
The roster includes Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Deandre Jordan, Jeff Green, and Blake Griffin. For a brief moment, power forward/center LaMarcus Aldridge had joined Brooklyn’s already talented roster. Aldridge retired a few after weeks after joining due to an irregular heartbeat after the game versus the Los Angeles Lakers.
Even with the loss of Aldridge, the Nets are still recognized by many as a loaded team. The buzz has recently been brewing about Brooklyn being so deep that they can win an NBA championship without KD. The arguments are valid to a certain point. But the narratives are based on the Nets steamrolling through their competition during the regular season with Durant.
According to Statmuse, the Nets were 23-10 without Durant during a recent season stretch. To make things even more impressive, Brooklyn still fielded a competitive team without the presence of both Durant and Irving not seeing action.
Without both stars present, NBA fans would get a glance at what the team would look like, with Harden as the number one option. As always, Harden would be in his MVP form as he dominated opposing teams on numerous occasions. Recently, Harden would go on the injured list due to a hamstring strain. The fact that Brooklyn can remain so competitive without “The Big Three” not being on the court at all once shows how strong their depth is at important positions.
A Brief History Lesson
Do you recall what occurred the last time that analysts around the league were saying that a loaded team could win a world championship without the presence of Kevin Durant? It happened in the 2019 NBA playoffs when Durant was a member of the Golden State Warriors. The make a long story short, Durant suffered what was at the time called a calf-strain versus the Houston Rockets in the semi-final round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Despite the Warriors not having KD, they would finish off the Rockets 4-2 to close out the series. Durant would not see any action for the Warriors when they faced the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals. Golden State did just fine without Durant. The Warriors swept the series with Portland 4-0.
Golden State would head into their fifth-straight NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, but that’s where things would get interesting. The narrative would quickly change as Toronto’s size would minimize the effectiveness of the Warriors’ ability to score at will.
Durant would return for one game but quickly exit after reinjuring the calf that he suffered versus Houston. The injury would be later reported as a torn ACL injury. The result would be the Raptors dominating the Warriors without the presence of KD. Toronto won the series 4-2 and would hold up their first-ever Larry O’Brien Trophy in franchise history. Even before the injuries started to mount for Golden State, the Raptors outperformed them for most of the series.
The Argument for the Nets Needing Kevin Durant to Win A Title
The Brooklyn Nets need Kevin Durant to win a world championship, plain and simple. The level of competition is going to get complicated for Brooklyn once the playoffs begin. There could be potential matchups facing teams such as the 76ers, Bucks, or last season’s Eastern Conference representative, the Miami Heat. Each club listed presents a unique challenge for the Nets.
Unless it’s a career-threatening injury, the key players for those teams will be on the court if they face Brooklyn in the postseason. Kevin Durant’s skill set is an equalizer that can produce counteroffensive output that the Nets may have to deal with once the playoffs start or even the NBA Finals. Despite the arguments being valid for Brooklyn not needing Durant, it is best to let the entire situation play out before the narrative can ever be made.
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