When Kevin Durant decided to leave the Golden State Warriors and join the Brooklyn Nets, it created a seismic shift in the NBA landscape for the foreseeable future. Although he went down with a torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Durant’s impact on a basketball court is unquestioned.
Why did he choose Brooklyn over other teams after his services? Today we will look at the main reason Durant chose the Nets to start the next chapter of his career.
The Nets system?
The Nets were the laughingstock of the league just a few seasons ago. Coach Kenny Atkinson has helped develop a winning culture in Brooklyn, and the player development has been one of the bright spots of the improvement of the team. D’Angelo Russell became an All-Star in this offense, so there’s no reason to think Kyrie Irving can’t put up 25 points and six to seven assists per game next season.
The only small forward that is capable of holding Kevin Durant in check (at times) is Giannis Antetokounmpo, so we will be excited for their battles in 2020.
How did the Nets GM find out?
Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks didn’t learn about Durant coming to Brooklyn until he checked his Instagram page. Durant didn’t have an official visit with the team, and he was widely speculated to be joining the New York Knicks before his Achilles injury. So it must have been a surprise to learn a two-time NBA Finals MVP was joining the team along with another NBA champion in Irving.
Marks has done an excellent job of finding supreme talent, as Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris are two key components to the starting lineup.
Teaming up with Kyrie Irving
Durant and Irving have always been friends, and the two started talking about teaming up during their time with Team USA in 2016. Irving is arguably the best ball handler we have ever seen step on a basketball court, so pairing the two together in 2020 could make Brooklyn the favorite to win it all.
The 76ers will be more experienced with their big three, and the Bucks still have Giannis Antetokounmpo, but Brooklyn shouldn’t have any trouble getting a top seed in the East after Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have a few months to gel together.
What can we expect from Brooklyn next season?
Even without Kevin Durant, the Nets should still be a tough out in the Eastern Conference playoff race. We think it will be the Bucks and Sixers in the Eastern Finals, but Brooklyn can still win 45 games and earn home court in the first round.
Joe Harris is one of the league’s underrated shooters, and Caris LeVert will be back after suffering a leg injury towards the end of the season. DeAndre Jordan was also another key pickup for the Nets.
The star center has been one of the league’s top rebounders since entering the NBA, and we could expect plays reminiscent of “Lob City” when Jordan was catching alley-oops from Chris Paul.
Irving isn’t a good defender at all, so having Jordan in the paint can make things easier on the other perimeter defenders.
How do you think the Nets will do with Irving and Durant?
Are you looking at the Nets as a title contender? We think they will be a playoff team next year, but 2020 should be promising. If Durant comes back at even 85% of what he was pre-injury, you could be looking at the best team in the Eastern Conference.