The Brooklyn Nets are neck-and-neck with the Chicago Bulls for the top seed in the East, while Kevin Durant is the leading candidate in the MVP race; his team is visibly struggling against the elite teams of the NBA. However, this is by no fault of Durant's as he has averaged 29.5 points against these top teams, doing everything he can to keep his team at the top of their game.
Kevin Durant is on a scoring tear
Kevin Durant has averaged 29.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 8 games this season against Bucks, Bulls, Heat, Warriors, Suns, Grizzlies, and Jazz this season.
While these are the kind of scoring numbers we have come to expect from Durant, the rebounds and assists numbers are also impressive, but these numbers have resulted in losses every single time. Brooklyn may have one of the best records in the league right now, but given the way their team is constructed, they are one KD injury away from plummeting in the standings.
Now, this was certainly not meant to be the case, especially with James Harden and Kyrie Irving on board; this team was designed to withstand an injury to one of their superstars. However, Durant is head and shoulders above the other two stars in terms of who makes this team go, so it is apparent now that apart from chemistry, the priority for Steve Nash should be to keep Durant healthy.
The Nets have a few important decisions to make
The regular season is a great measuring stick for most teams, particularly young teams trying to find their way in the league. However, this Brooklyn Nets team is unlike anything we have seen before, and if there is one team that can afford to take the regular season off, it's them. Also, at the number two spot in the East, the Nets are presented with an interesting business decision regarding Kyrie Irving. Irving is back with the Nets but only available for some road games, which begs the question, do the Nets intentionally go for the fifth seed or lower?
Home court advantage is usually a good thing, but in Brooklyn's case, it's clear now that their only shot of winning it all is when their three stars are on the floor. Losing home-court advantage means you have Kyrie for more games than not, which is a significant advantage for the Nets, even when on the road.
The Nets have some interesting decisions to make almost halfway into the season, but one thing is for sure, to beat the best in the league, they need to be healthy. Out West, the top teams in the conference are more than formidable, so having two of their three stars isn't going to cut it for Brooklyn. A saying goes, "you never cheat the game," which applies to teams trying to get a favorable match-up in the playoffs by tanking games, but history suggests that this has never worked out for those suspected of taking this approach. Brooklyn is different, though, and with KD playing at this level alongside Harden and Irving, they just might be the first team to tank and win.