The Sacramento Kings have been one of the biggest jokes of the NBA for well over a decade. On Tuesday night, Sacramento passed the torch of league laughing stock over to the Brooklyn Nets by stomping them out 153-121. This Nets squad is an embarrassment even with a superstar in Kevin Durant “leading” the way.
Entering the game in Sacramento on Tuesday, Brooklyn had won four of six games since Kyrie Irving’s indefinite suspension was handed down. But they’re on another two-game skid after dropping back-to-back games against the Kings and Lakers. The Nets lost these games by a combined 45 points. L.A. beat ‘em on Sunday, which was bad enough.
Brooklyn isn’t the worst team in the Association in terms of record but based on the level of star power this franchise possesses, the Nets should all be ashamed of how dreadful they’ve looked on the court. Sacramento has played better lately, winning seven of its last nine games after smothering Brooklyn’s not-so-finest. But the Kings are just a game over .500 at 7-6. It’s not like they’ve been some juggernaut running through every team the NBA places in front of them.
Nets owner Joe Tsai is supposed to be a good businessman but refuses to see the writing on the wall. It’s been there all along, and he continues applying fresh coats of paint like that’ll make it go away. That writing is under those extra layers of paint and says the dream is over.
Everything about this team is terrible, and we need to stop this talk about Kevin Durant being the best anything. He’ll go down as an all-time great, no doubt, but he’s not the best player in the league, and he’s not better than LeBron James or Stephen Curry, the two players he seems to most frequently be compared to.
Through the ups and downs in Golden State, Curry has stuck around and been rewarded with individual accolades and leading that franchise to multiple championships. Steph was undoubtedly the leader during Durant’s three-year stint with the Warriors. He allowed KD to share in his spotlight. Clearly, Curry has always been the leader of that team.
James bounced around on teams, but in his wake, he left them a championship or two. In the case of Cleveland, he went back to make sure they got that city the title he’d promised years earlier. That’s called leadership, a quality Durant has never had in his toolkit. Or his bag, as folks like to say. Scoring a ton of points is great, but all the legends have been able to score at will, and even some less-than-legendary players were known to fill up the cup.
Intangibles matter, and Brooklyn lacks those qualities because its best players are devoid of them. Irving is another player who gives you points, fancy dribbling, and not much else. Kyrie thinks he’s a leader, but he isn’t. Players aren’t clamoring to follow Irving anywhere.
Then there’s the Ben Simmons issue, and reportedly the organization is already unhappy with Simmons’ “availability and level of play,” according to reports from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
These Nets are the worst team in the NBA based on yearly expectations and the level of “talent” on the team. Durant is not a top 10 player of all time, so that conversation also needs to cease until he can prove he’s worthy of that praise. KD will continue to score a bunch of points, Irving will come back eventually and dazzle us with his ball-handling ability, and Simmons will continue to frustrate the organization with injuries and a lack of passion.
One thing this group won’t do is win many meaningful games in May or June. That’s FDIC insured, so you can take it to the bank.