The Nets knew they were investing in the future when they signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to huge free agent deals in July of 2019. Durant was less than three weeks removed from a ruptured Achilles tendon and Irving was looking for a fresh start after being the scapegoat for a disappointing season in Boston. Durant didn’t play at all during the 2019/20 season, while Irving suffered a shoulder impingement that limited him to 20 games, so the Nets’ wait to enjoy the spoils of their free agency coup became even longer.
Two games into the new season, Durant and Irving are both healthy and Brooklyn looks like a legitimate contender. The Nets started off with blowout wins over the Warriors and Celtics in a pair of nationally televised games. Irving is putting up MVP-level numbers with averages of 31.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per night, and Durant isn’t far behind with a 25.5/4.5/3.0 line.
The Nets, who had trouble assembling a full roster this summer at Disney World, suddenly have a deep, talented team that looks capable of a long playoff run. Caris LeVert has become the primary ball-handler on the reserve unit and is third on the team in scoring at 15.0 PPG. Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris bring additional firepower to the starting unit. DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen split time at center, while free agent addition Jeff Green provides versatility in the frontcourt.
Brooklyn’s emergence adds another contender to the crowded playoff picture in the East. Milwaukee had the best record in the conference last season, but Miami reached the NBA Finals. The Celtics, Raptors, Sixers, and Pacers should all be in the mix as well.
We want to get your opinion. If the Nets can get a full season from both Durant and Irving, should they be considered the best team in the East? Please leave your replies in the comments section.