Former NBA champion Magic Johnson believes Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving can lead the Brooklyn Nets to a win in seven games, but a championship run could be out of their reach.
The Nets are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference and will need to win two straight games to qualify for the playoffs if they fail to move up the standings.
Despite ranking so low, the Brooklyn Nets remain among the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. However, that seems like a daunting task, given their struggles on the defensive side of the pitch.
Here’s what Magic Johnson said about the Nets’ chances of doing well in the playoffs (via First take of ESPN):
“Look, in a short streak or a 7-game streak with Kyrie and Kevin Durant, they (Brooklyn Nets) can win a streak. They just can’t win the championship. But they definitely can win a streak or two.”
“And they’re going to give people a lot of problems, but my problem is always the same, it’s always defense, defense and defense.”
Johnson’s take on Brooklyn’s playoff chances might be perfect. In their previous outing, the Nets suffered a 122-115 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, despite an impressive 55-point outing from Kevin Durant.
Their defense crumbled again against Trae Young and company, resulting in their fourth loss in seven games.
How far can Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving take the Brooklyn Nets?
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant helped the Brooklyn Nets remain favorites to win the Eastern Conference in the betting books. They are two of the best offensive players in the NBA right now and have been in great shape this year.
Durant is averaging 30.1 points per game, while Irving has averaged 27.1 points per game this season. They have a strong supporting cast around them, including Seth Curry, Patty Mills and Andre Drummond. However, wins have been hard to come by for Brooklyn due to the lack of strong defense.
The Nets have Ben Simmons behind the scenes, but the Aussie guard is expected to miss the regular season and the qualifying tournament. As he has been out for almost ten months, it may be difficult for him to play at the same level when he returns.
Given these factors, the Brooklyn Nets will likely have a hard time dealing with their poor playoff defense if they aim to make a deep push.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could lead them to the second round. However, a Conference Finals appearance can be hard to come by, especially if Steve Nash and the coaching staff fail to develop a successful defensive strategy.