We’ve been waxing poetic about how the Brooklyn Nets‘ roster is as deep as its been in years, and it was on full display in the team’s convincing 123-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Sunday’s preseason opener.
Any roster that’s carried by Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving will have too much firepower on the offensive end of the floor for even the upper-echelon teams in the NBA to grapple with on a game-by-game basis.
However, when you start talking about guys like Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, Bruce Brown and Cam Thomas, among others, coming off the bench, it’s hard to envision the Nets losing more than 20 games this season.
That got us thinking whether Brooklyn’s depth could be spun into a negative, say, if Durant is in contention for the MVP award. Could having so much talent around him potentially sway voters to elect a more “deserving” candidate?
Could the Nets’ roster be used against Kevin Durant’s MVP case this season?
In the NBA’s annual GM survey, Durant edged out Luka Doncic as the favorite to win the 2021-22 MVP. The Nets superstar earned 37% of the vote, which isn’t surprising considering he was the frontrunner to win the award last season before a hamstring injury shelved him for over a month and derailed his chances.
It’s become clear in recent years that candidates must check three boxes in order to be considered MVP-worthy. Team and individual success is paramount. However, a strong narrative can help win over voters. Two years ago, ESPN writer Ramona Shelburne admitted she voted for LeBron James over Giannis Antetokounmpo because of the “narratives” surrounding James and the Lakers.
Why do we bring that up? Well, it’s extremely possible that voters hold the Nets’ loaded roster — again, it’s hands down the deepest in the league — against Durant, assuming he makes a push for his second career MVP award.
That’s just the way the cookie crumbles these days. If Durant’s numbers are on par with that of a Luka, Giannis, Steph Curry, or Nikola Jokic, voters might feel inclined to give them the nod over KD since they’re technically working with less.
We don’t agree with it, but that’s the reality of the situation.
However, let’s say Irving maintains his hesitancy towards getting vaccinated and is forced to sit out half of the Nets’ schedule. If Durant is his typical spectacular self and leads Brooklyn to the No. 1 or 2 seed in the East without his superstar point guard, there’s your narrative. Voters would have no other choice but to appoint KD.
If Irving, Harden and the rest of the Nets’ roster remains intact for the majority of the year, however, Durant would likely have to put together a season for the ages to nullify the roster narrative.
There’s definitely a path to the MVP award for Durant. He just might have to do a little extra than most superstars not named LeBron in order to warrant legitimate consideration, since the Nets’ roster is littered with All-Star talent.