Kevin Durant will stay out with a left hamstring harm a minimum of by the NBA All-Star break, however there may very well be a giant silver lining for Durant and the Brooklyn Nets.
Think about it build-in load administration.
In a best-case situation for the red-hot Nets, they maintain profitable whereas Durant — one of many three or 4 greatest gamers on the planet — rests and recovers and he returns to his All-Star stage of play in loads of time for the NBA playoffs in late May. The Nets first sport after the break is March 11 in opposition to Boston, however the staff figures to be super-prudent and to take their time bringing Durant again solely when he’s totally wholesome.
In a not-so-best-case situation, Durant continues to be hampered by the hamstring and goes out and in of the lineup into and thru the playoffs, spoiling the Nets’ greatest probability at a run towards the franchise’s first NBA championship.
Durant is, in spite of everything, recovering from a torn Achilles for which he sat out all of final season after signing a 4-year, $164-million take care of the Nets in free company in the summertime of 2019. Nobody is aware of how his physique will maintain up for the lengthy haul. What we do know is he’s performed like an All-Star, and occasion a possible MVP candidate, whereas averaging 29.0 factors. 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He went for 42 factors in a sport final month. He has scored 20+ factors in all however one sport this season, and has scored 30+ 9 instances.
“Nicely, it sucks to not have Kevin,” first-year coach Steve Nash stated Friday. “He’s an incredible, wonderful basketball participant. And any time you’ve the Lamborghini within the storage, it’s meant to be on the highway.
“So we’re all dissatisfied however the staff’s been fantastic for stretches with out Kevin so we’re lacking an unimaginable participant and we would like him to play. And when he does, he does it nicely as anyone on the planet so we would like him to be on the market wholesome and blissful and all that stuff however life is about adversity and as soon as he comes again, he’s executed it tons of of instances in his profession, and now we have all the religion in him and his physique and his thoughts that he’ll get better from this one as nicely.”
Nash sounded downbeat when requested how Durant was dealing with the most recent setback.
“He’s dissatisfied clearly,” Nash stated. “He obtained himself by one of the crucial devastating accidents in basketball taking part in at an All-Star stage, and even an MVP stage, and for it to get shut down for a short time could be very disappointing.
“Having stated that, it may all the time be worse so we’ll proceed to observe him and he’s going to be again this season and we’ll all be grateful when that instances comes, however not till he’s prepared.”
With two-thirds of the “Huge Three” in James Harden and Kyrie Irving taking part in at an All-Star stage, the Nets are driving an eight-game profitable streak and are solely half a sport again of Philadelphia for first place within the East getting into Friday. There’s no motive the Nets couldn’t win a spherical or two within the playoffs with out Durant, however when it comes time to taking down a Philadelphia within the East Finals, or the Lakers, Clippers or Jazz within the NBA Finals, they may want all arms on deck.
The Nets are the place they’re now regardless of Durant solely taking part in 19 video games with the staff this season. That’s truly one lower than Harden — who was simply acquired final month within the blockbuster take care of the Rockets and is within the midst of re-writing the franchise record book.
So Durant is getting his built-in load administration and ideally can be be lots recent come April, Could and June. It’s roughly equal to what the Yankees are doing stockpiling pitchers coming off accidents like Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon. They haven’t pitched a lot within the final yr or extra, so if they will return to full well being they need to have loads of bullets left of their arms.
“It sucks not having Kevin on the ground, however with that being stated we would like him to be 100% certain that he’s capable of be on the market and be wholesome,” Nets large man DeAndre Jordan stated Friday. “His well being is our No. 1 concern.
“However with him being out it’s different alternatives for guys to step up and play and get minutes and get expertise, so when he does come again we’re even stronger and guys are ready to play in tight-game conditions and are on the market getting quite a lot of reps that they usually wouldn’t get if Kevin was round. So I feel that everyone is type of making the most of this and we all know that now we have to be that significantly better with him being out. However we’re going to carry down the fort till he is able to come again and play.”
The Nets did just complete a perfect 5-0 West Coast swing with Durant taking part in only one sport in opposition to his former staff, the Golden State Warriors. They beat LeBron James and the Lakers pretty handily and pulled out a win over Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Clippers with out Durant.
He has performed solely three of the Nets’ 10 video games this month because of the hamstring and NBA Covid-19 contract tracing protocols — and in a type of video games he played only 19 minutes against Toronto.
For now, the Nets and their followers can consider this prolonged layoff as a built-in interval of load administration and hope that Durant comes again wholesome and recent and able to lead a deep playoff run this spring.
There’s no manner of figuring out the way it will play out, however he’s stunned everybody by getting this far.