Kevin Durant he was a lonely star. Kyrie Irving was out and James Harden probably should be.
And yet Durant provided almost everything the Nets required.
He failed to get Brooklyn, an injury-depleted team, to eliminate the Bucks in the previous postseason. But he played outstandingly in the second-round series, with 49 points and a triple-double in the fifth game, as well as 48 points in the seventh.
And in Tokyo, he guided the US team to the gold medal.
For all this, he has shown that he not only recovered from a terrible injury. He has recovered his best level of play. And now he wants the Nets to rise to the top of the NBA.
Even with the questions that have haunted Irving’s availability during the preseason, the Nets feel they have more variants than in the previous season. And they will be healthier.
In that case, they will be favorites to the title.
Durant received the highest number of votes in the survey of general managers conducted by the NBA site
“What we have on paper is good,” Durant said. “But you still have to read between the lines and win.”
They weren’t able to do it as often last season, when Durant and Harden missed many games with hamstring injuries. Ultimately, Brooklyn had its best players for the postseason, but that strengthening was fleeting.
Harden and Irving were injured in the second-round playoff game against the Bucks.
“Now we have a year together and it doesn’t get better than that,” Harden said. “Last year we had flashes even though we weren’t healthy or complete. This year the story is going to be different.
That would depend on Irving, whose status is uncertain for games in New York where professional athletes are required to be vaccinated. The Nets have decided that Irving will not play until he is fully available. This put an end to speculation that he would appear only as a visitor.
Instead, there is no question about Durant, who missed the 2019-20 season, while recovering from surgery to repair the ruptured Achilles tendon. He averaged 26.9 points the previous season and looked even more impressive in the postseason and at the Olympics.
Durant received the highest number of votes in the survey of general managers conducted by the NBA site.com, as the most likely winner of the MVP award for the upcoming campaign.
Several media have chosen him the best player in the league.
“Just last year, people wondered if I would play again. In this year they believe that I am going to be the best ”, stressed Durant. “None of these opinions matter… I know what I have. My teammates and players know what I bring, as do the real fans, who genuinely love this sport. “
And that could be enough for the Nets to finally conquer an NBA title.
In January, when Harden arrived from Houston, he predicted that along with the other two stars he was going to cause fear among rivals.
“We are more scary,” he replied.