When the season started the thought of Kevin Durant playing this year was just an afterthought; it was also believed Kyrie Irving would miss the remainder of the season healing his right shoulder. But the unthinkable has happened.
March 11, 2020, a date that will live in infamy forever throughout the NBA spectrum; it meant the postponement of the season following news of Rudy Gobert testing positive for the coronavirus. We don’t know when and if the season will return, but if it does, should the Brooklyn Nets entertain the idea of risking their long-term future for a shot at glory in the immediate one?
Before the league indefinitely suspended operations, Durant was progressing on schedule with multiple videos of him surfacing online of getting reps in at the Nets’ practice facility. There were rumors of him possibly playing in the Olympics this summer, but can he how lace up his sneakers for the Nets?
That’s hard to say. We don’t know how the league will act, first of all, and the decision to bring Durant back before opening tip-off of the 2019/20 NBA season isn’t to be taken lightly.
The Nets have played 64 games as of now. Which means, if all goes well, they’ll play out their remaining 18 contests. Is it worth bringing Durant back early with the team’s current record sitting at 30-34?
The Nets need to do everything in their power to resist the temptation of rushing their superstar back to finish the season. Moreover, we know how the intensity increases once playoff basketball rounds; so again, is it worth the risk? Why jeopardize your future for a misguided shot at glory with a roster filled with issues?
With time lost, it’s conceivable that the NBA will resort to back-to-backs or “every-other-days.” That wouldn’t be ideal circumstances to return to. Especially for one who is recovering from an injury as hellacious as a torn Achilles’ tendon.
What makes this even more interesting is Irving’s current status. It’s in the realm of possibility that he’ll be ready to go in the summer, and having the dynamic duo on the court when healthy gives them a shot against any team in any gym.
But Kyrie, who returned from the same shoulder injury prior to surgery, ended up hurting the shoulder enough that the team had to shut him down for the rest of the season and he had surgery to repair it.
Durant, last postseason, returned—arguably prematurely— from injury in the NBA Finals before blowing out his Achilles. It’s impossible to say if he did, in fact, returned too early and that caused the injury, but that “what if” is pretty tantalizing.
Would you want your two-headed monster returning late in a season, risking playing too many games too quickly which could lead to time missed (if something were to go wrong) next season when the Nets are expected to compete for the Eastern Conference crown and possibly bring a championship to Brooklyn, the first since 1955?
The answer is simple: Let the team get more experience in tough situations so they can evaluate who they keep and who they will move on from in the offseason, whenever that is.
Before the season’s suspension, the team was playing some of its best basketball; winning three in a row and four out of five. While also beating the likes of the Lakers and the Celtics on the road.
This team has talent without there two superstars; let them play this thing out. And after the season inevitably concludes, look at what you have and make whatever move has to be made.