Nets Notes: Durant, Irving, Olympics, Warren, O’Neale

The Nets have been defined by chaos for most of the past year, but things have been quiet lately in Brooklyn as the team has moved up the Eastern Conference standings, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. The early-season drama caused by a coaching change and Kyrie Irving‘s suspension has died down as the Nets have won 11 of their last 12 games to rise into fourth place.

“I get that other people don’t look at our roster as a championship roster, but when we get wins the way we get wins, you gotta pay attention to that,” Kevin Durant said. “When Kai (Irving) and Ben (Simmons) didn’t play, we beat teams by (nearly) 40 points. Any other team, it’s, ‘Hold on, what they doing over there?’ They take us for granted, me and Kai especially. We gotta jump through a Hula-Hoop of fire to be impressed.”

Brooklyn’s surge has been led by Durant, who is playing at an MVP level, averaging 32.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in his last 11 games. Jacque Vaughn has provided a steady hand since taking over as head coach, and Irving has avoided controversy since his suspension ended.

“On the floor, it’s remarkable, God-like Hall-of-Fame level,” Durant said of Irving. “You see how he scores, how he makes plays. Just the fact his options, and his personal life … that’s what people have a (problem) with. But now that he’s playing and he’s here consistently, that hasn’t been a conversation surrounding anything.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The Warriors’ Steve Kerr, who will coach Team USA in the 2024 Olympics, said Wednesday that he plans to ask Durant to participate, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant told reporters he’s willing to consider another Olympics appearance, but he believes it’s too early to make that decision.
  • After missing almost two full seasons, T.J. Warren is still trying to regain his touch on his three-point shot but his defense has been a pleasant surprise, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. It has helped him post a plus-8.1 net rating through eight games, which would be the highest of his career. “I feel like a lot of people didn’t think I can play defense,” Warren said. “I don’t know where that narrative came from, but I’ve been improving on that end as well as being a scorer. Just being aggressive when I’m locked in.”
  • Royce O’Neale, who ranked second in the league in minutes earlier this season, has seen his playing time reduced somewhat since returning from a two-game absence for personal reasons, Lewis adds. “It was great to get a rest,” O’Neale said. “I didn’t know I was number two in minutes, but that’s just me putting in a lot of hard work and being ready to play every game, every minute.”
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