Kevin Durant, Nets must beat Shaq-Kobe Bryant Lakers’ record to win NBA title
For as talented as the Nets’ squad is, there are just as many questions surrounding the viability of Brooklyn as a true title contender.
The biggest would probably be their team chemistry. The Nets have steamrolled a number of opponents en route to nabbing the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference. But Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving have only played eight total games together. You’d have to go back 20 years to the Shaq and Kobe Bryant era of Lakers basketball to find a team whose main trio played just 10 or fewer games together.
The Nets have played 8 games with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Harden available, going 6-2.
The fewest games played together by any champion’s top-3 scorers during the regular season is 10 by Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant-Derek Fisher with the 2000-01 Lakers.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 22, 2021
But one huge difference is that the Lakers squad was fresh off winning their first title. They had already reached the summit and were one the comeback trail once again.
It’s the same reason the Lakers of today are still given the benefit of the doubt in NBA circle. They fell to the seventh seed, but nobody’s questioning their team’s championship pedigree any longer.
The Nets may have outperformed LeBron James and the Lakers in the regular season, but that doesn’t always translate into postseason success. Just ask the Milwaukee Bucks, who have held the NBA’s best record for two years in a row now with nothing to show for it. The preparation and attention to detail in a playoff series is nothing like the the meager scouting reports during a random game in January.
Mismatches get targeted, weaknesses get exposed, and team chemistry is tested more than ever within the crucible of NBA playoff intensity. The Brooklyn Nets indeed have the talent to dethrone the Lakers, but how it all comes together remains to be seen.