It is no secret that the Brooklyn Nets have had a rather disappointing start to their 2021-22 campaign without Kyrie Irving. Kevin Durant has been exceptional for the Nets, but his efforts alone will not be enough if they hope to contend for the 2022 title.
Stephen A. Smith has been very vocal about Irving's decision to not get vaccinated and has shown his disgust in the most expressive way possible. While getting vaccinated is a personal choice, Stephen A believes that Kyrie owes it to KD, seeing as he recruited him to the Nets.
On an episode of First Take, when asked if Durant should regret leaving the Golden State Warriors, he said (00:53):
"Without question. If you gonna leave the Oracle. And you gonna leave a first-class organization like the Golden State Warriors, you leaving for a brand like the New York Knicks."
Stephen A went on to say that the reason KD should regret is because he wanted to play with Kyrie, but has been betrayed.
"KD came to Brooklyn because of Kyrie Irving. Kyrie Irving has betrayed KD. He has betrayed basketball fans with his continual excuses for absence. He has betrayed his teammates, he's betrayed the NBA game because he is a superstar, a show-stopper, must-see television.
"I wouldn't blame KD if KD asked to be traded at the end of the season. I think he should ask to be traded."
Even without Kyrie, the Nets have elite-level talents that can help them win a championship. The Nets are currently ranked second in the Eastern Conference standings, with a .706 win-loss percentage.
James Harden is yet to hit top form, which means the Nets could get scarier when he is at his best. An area of concern is the Nets' failure to win "respectable" teams so far. But the Nets can be proud of how improved they are on the defensive end of the floor.
Durant is leading the Nets in scoring and rebounds, averaging 28.6 points and 7.9 rebounds. He has also made 4.9 assists and is shooting 56.7% from the field.