Following an MRI this morning, Kevin Durant was diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral of the left knee. Durant is expected to return to full strength following a period of rehabilitation. Updates regarding his return will be provided as appropriate.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 16, 2022
Before losing Durant, the team was 27-15 and battling for Eastern Conference supremacy with the Chicago Bulls and now the Miami Heat.
But not that Durant is out, some are wondering if the Nets are doomed.
How can they win the East and the Finals without their best player?
The truth is that the team probably would be doomed if Durant were gone for the rest of the season but if he’s out for a few weeks, Brooklyn should be okay.
That’s because the team has been cobbled together to withstand this sort of setback…now it’s just time to prove it.
Big Three Is The Way To Be
Durant is not the only star on the Nets.
The team was crafted as a scoring powerhouse and, sure enough, they are: they currently put up 111.6 points a game, which ranks sixth in the entire NBA.
Durant is a pretty formidable defensive player – that’s one of the things that makes him so special – but the focus in the weeks ahead will be on replacing his offensive skills.
Thankfully, the team should mostly have him covered there.
Harden is sometimes considered one of the best clutch shooters in the entire league.
If he keeps his head in the game and really focuses, he will be able to pick up a lot of the slack.
Irving is also another incredible shooter and an even better point guard and playmaker.
He will also have to up the ante and go above and beyond in Durant’s absence.
Mills currently has a higher field goal percentage than Harden (43.6 percent to 41.9 percent) and also lands about 42 percent of his threes, so he can also fill in a bit for Durant.
Put all of these guys together and there is a good chance that the Nets will be able to be competitive even without Durant.
It won’t be easy and Durant will be missed but this is a team that was constructed to function even without its lead star.
Of course, things get a bit more complicated because of the Irving situation.
As you well know, he can only play in away games because of his COVID vaccination status.
Therefore, for some of the games ahead, it will be like the team has actually lost two of its best players.
This means even more pressure will be added to the remaining guys, especially Harden who will officially be the best shooter for Brooklyn.
So far, the results without Durant are not encouraging: the team went down to the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-107 on Monday night.
Some will say the team was just finding its footing in its first game without Durant.
However, others will whisper that the defeat to the Cavs is just a troubling sign of things to come.
For his part, Harden seemed to recognize the shortcomings of the team and seems determined to fix them.
James Harden: "We had more than enough opportunities to win this game. It's on us." pic.twitter.com/RzqNDW7b9o
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) January 17, 2022
However, it should be noted that he suffered an apparent injury in the game against Cleveland.
Harden says he’s fine and it’s nothing to be worried about.
Brooklyn fans are hoping he’s right because if Harden does get hurt, that could spell very serious trouble for the Nets.