The NBA Title Runs Through New York, According to This Elite NBA Group
NBA general managers are responsible for constructing championship-caliber teams. They work day and night, from dusk until dawn, finding the diamonds-in-the-rough to compliment star players in a way that will take their team to the next level.
So, it's pretty telling when NBA general managers identify your team as the favorite to win the NBA Championship, and according to ESPN's article on the subject, the trends pointed to New York.
It wasn't just one, nor two, but 72% (somewhere between 21 and 22 GMs) that identified the Brooklyn Nets as their favorite to win the 2021-22 NBA title, leaps and bounds ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, who were the next closest choices.
Not only that, but Kevin Durant edged out Luka Doncic as the favorite to win the NBA MVP award, a massive honor for a player that last won an MVP in 2013-14. At 33 years of age, Durant is playing some of the best basketball of his career, as he averaged more points per game last season than any year he's played in since 2015-16.
It will be a bit more difficult for the Nets to reach their true potential this season if Kyrie Irving remains off the court, though. The star guard has been away from the team to start the preseason as he deals with updated New York COVID-19 protocols, which state that a player cannot enter an arena without being vaccinated.
Irving has yet to receive the vaccine, and if his past is any indication of future behavior, he probably never will. That being said, Durant and James Harden are capable of great things on their own when healthy, and will certainly still be dominant in the Eastern Conference. Veteran players like Joe Harris, Blake Griffin, Patty Mills, Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge will need to step up and fill the void that Irving may leave, but if they do, this team will be hard to stop.