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Kenny Smith claims Brooklyn can contend in the East without Kevin Durant

Kenny Smith, Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets are one of the teams that have used the offseason to significantly improve their chances for winning an NBA title within the next couple of years. Nonetheless, with new recruit Kevin Durant expected to miss a significant part of the new campaign as he recovers from a debilitating Achilles injury, more than a few folks are questioning Brooklyn’s potential sans the former back-to-back Finals MVP.

As it turns out, retired two-time NBA champion and current TNT basketball analyst Kenny Smith is not on the same boat. In his mind, Smith believes that the Nets will still be a legitimate threat in the East even without Durant.

“Brooklyn should be better – that’s the expectation,” said Smith at the SkySports conference, via Net Income of Nets Daily. “Even without Kevin Durant there, they should be contending for the East.”

Smith went on to elaborate on his point by saying that he believes that a team’s collective effort will prove to be more important than the individual play of one superstar.

“Basketball is a team sport like no other. If you look at Toronto last year, it wasn’t a duo that bought them the title,” said Smith. “There was a really great player in Kawhi Leonard with really good players around him that understood how to play well. That structure is always going to be more consistent than two guys or three guys dominating because that becomes too much weight to carry.”

Smith does make a valid argument here, and while Durant is indeed one of the top players in the game today, the Nets are still a pretty formidable side even with him watching from the sidelines. It’s actually pretty amazing to think about Brooklyn’s potential once Durant is able to make a full recovery and starts balling out for his new squad.