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Kevin Durant is Back and the Brooklyn Nets Are Clearly the Best Team in the NBA

By Stephen Douglas
Apr 8, 2021, 10:09 AM EDT
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together again.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together again. | Elsa/Getty Images
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Kevin Durant returned to the court for the first time in nearly two months. James Harden did not play. Kyrie Irving did. The lineups keep changing as the Brooklyn Nets just keep winning. If there was doubt they should be the favorites, that should be gone. This is the team that should win the NBA title and, holy crap, are they fun to watch.

On Wednesday night they beat the New Orleans Pelicans, 139-111. The game was never in doubt. Durant came off the bench to score 17 points in 19 minutes. He was perfect from the field (5-for-5) and line (5-for-5) and added seven rebounds and five assists. He looked sharp.

Then there's Kyrie. He seems like he can do whatever he wants right now, both on the court and off. He'll break out moves you've never seen before and then disappear for a week or two. He's shooting 51 percent from the field on 20+ shots a game.

The only concern with the Nets is injuries. James Harden has played four minutes this month. KD just came back from that hamstring. Those two and Irving have only actually played together a couple times, but it hasn't mattered. The Nets have the best record in the East.

They just need two of those guys to be contenders. If they get all three, they're probably unbeatable. It would take a healthy Los Angeles Lakers team, which seems just as unlikely right now. If you don't like superteams or the personalities of any of these guys, you probably don't want to hear it.

Which is a shame because these guys are awesome. Harden has been dominant. He's looked like the best player in the world in Brooklyn. And Kyrie has been an artist with the ball in his hands. Kevin Durant is obviously one of the most gifted basketball players to ever play. Put them all together and they make beautiful basketball music. There should be no doubt.

And along the way they are rejuvenating guys like Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. There were some complaints about those guys somehow tanking at their previous stops since they've both looked pretty good in Brooklyn, but who wouldn't look good playing with Kyrie, KD and Harden? Each one of those guys on their own demands a ton of attention from opposing defenses. When was the last time Blake Griffin played with a guy that the other team cared about stopping? He should be getting uncontested threes and dunks.

The same goes for Aldridge who doesn't have to work at all to get baskets in Brooklyn. I don't think Joe Harris would be shooting the highest field goal and three-point percentages of his career if he were in Detroit right now. Same for Jeff Green. The list goes on.

The Nets put the ball in the basket at an alarming rate. They're second in the league, 0.3 points per game behind the Milwaukee Bucks. They're shooting the highest field goal percentage in the NBA. The third-best from three. And they are fourth in assists per game. It's just high-level basketball with some of the most talented offensive players ever doing their various things.

This is a great team and they still haven't really been at full power yet. Maybe they never get there. Maybe the injuries continue to plague them or maybe Kyrie leaves the team in the middle of a playoff run. But if they are all there and are all healthy, it's hard to believe anyone can beat them.

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