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Brooklyn Nets look to stay relevant without Kevin Durant

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The Nets welcomed the return of Kevin Durant after missing the entire 2019-2020 season recovering from a torn Achilles tendon he suffered in the 2018-2019 NBA Finals. He didn’t miss a beat, averaging 28.2 points and seven rebounds of the first six games, hitting over 45 percent from the floor.

Already without Spencer Dinwiddie for the season after a torn ACL, the Brooklyn Nets will be without Kevin Durant for the next seven days after being exposed to Covid-19, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.  Even though Durant already had Covid-19 and still has antibodies, he still has to sit due to the NBA protocols.

The problem is that at 3-4, the Nets play Utah, Philadelphia, Memphis, and Oklahoma City during Durant’s quarantine period.  Philadelphia is looking tough and the division is already loaded with the Celtics and the Raptors, so the Nets could find themselves in a relatively big hole for so early in the season.

A way the Nets can stay competitive is to rely more heavily on Cari LeVert and Kyrie Irving.  LeVert is averaging 13 points per game after almost 19 points per game last season. Irving is averaging nearly 27 points per game but may need to put up over 30 per game until Durant returns to keep the Nets afloat. One thing that needs to improve is three-point shooting since the Brooklyn Nets are hitting only 34 percent, well under the league average.

Given the overall talent on the roster, the Nets will likely improve their shooting from long range. But make no mistake about it, you just don’t completely make up for the loss of 27 points per game from Durant on top of the solid production from Dinwiddie. For the Nets to remain relevant during Durant’s absence, the defense must tighten the screws.

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