When Brooklyn Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are at the top of their respective games, they are a matchup nightmare for opponents. The two stars can solidify themselves as one of the top duos in NBA history by winning a title this year. Stephen Jackson, who won a title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003, believes that Kyrie and Durant are already two of the best players in NBA history.
“At the end of the day, when people are not throwing stuff in and not talking about everything outside of basketball when you just talk about the game, these are two of the best players we’ve ever seen,” Jackson said to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports.
“But for the most part, they’ve always been great basketball players, they always take care of their business on the court. So, of course, just like now, 12 out of 13 games they’ve won. So, I’m not surprised, they’re both my little brothers, and we go through ups and downs, but they’re built for it. “
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Stephen Jackson Slams Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant Critics
Despite being two of the best talents in the game, Durant and Kyrie have been under heavy scrutiny since joining the Nets in 2019. Because their other-worldly talent on the court has seemed to be overshadowed by drama off the court. But this season, the Nets have been more focused on the court, which has translated to wins. They currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference. Jackson says that the Nets winning this season has put their critics on mute.
“[They’ve silenced their critics] by winning, by playing basketball. I think the chatter and talk is something that [players] never listen to anyway,” Jackson added.
“That is why Kyrie is so free to speak his mind. I talk to Kyrie all the time, and the talk on the outside, nobody really paid attention to that. You know we speak our minds, and someone is gonna disagree with us, no matter what we got to say.”
Jacque Vaughn Issues Challenge to Nets
Unfortunately for the Nets, they could be in an entirely different position in the Eastern Conference standings by the All-Star break. Durant sprained his right MCL in a matchup against the Miami Heat on January 8.
As one of the top scorers in the NBA at 29.7 points per game, Durant will leave a gaping hole in the Nets’ offense during his injury recovery. But Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn says that just means other players on the roster will have to step up in his absence.
“We’ll need to do things better, whether that is rebounding the basketball better because Kevin can make a shot for us and cover up some of our sins. So, the shot discrepancy can’t be the same. We can’t turn it over the same,” Vaughn told reporters on January 11 via NetsDaily. “So, all the things that increase or decrease your margins, we just got to be better at.”
After losing to the Boston Celtics in their last game, the Nets are 0-1 without Durant thus far. They will have a chance to get back on track against the Oklahoma City Thunder in their next contest.