The Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets are the current leaders of the Western and Eastern Conference, respectively, and have the two best players in the league on their rosters: Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.
Their good moments and the potential they still have this season make them favorites to come out of their respective conferences. The Warriors still have big rivals in the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, and even the struggling Los Angeles Lakers, but it seems like they'll have the upper hand against any of these squads.
As for the Nets, they have harder competition in the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls. They have managed to stay atop of the standings this campaign without Kyrie Irving, who'll boost their title hopes if he returns to the court soon.
Many people believe Kyrie is the piece the Nets need to separate themselves from their competitors, but not everybody believes Irving's presence will be enough to beat the Warriors in a potential NBA Finals matchup.
Michael Wilbon recently made the case for the Dubs, claiming that having Kyrie Irving against a Klay Thompson-less Warriors wouldn't make a big difference for Brooklyn.
“I think I might have the Warriors without Klay. And I hope Klay is fully back. I'm suspicious on Kyrie. Kyrie ain’t dependable in the best of times. Let's stop making Kyrie Isiah Thomas. He's not dependable."
Wilbon explained that Kyrie saying he'd return to Boston before signing with the Nets wasn't a good move and he shouldn't be trusted after that. Moreover, he picked the Warriors' bench over the Nets with Irving, which raised many eyebrows at the NBA Countdown studio.
Kyrie has indeed made some questionable decisions during his career, including not taking the covid-19 vaccine to play with his team. Still, having him on the court, the Nets would have a major upgrade against a dangerous rival like the Warriors. Then again, the Dubs are playing like a well-oiled machine and the Nets are struggling to play like real contenders.
Perhaps Kyrie is the answer to all those issues, but time will tell if we see him on the court this season.