The Brooklyn Nets are hosting the Orlando Magic on Friday, but their main contributor won’t be in the lineup. Kevin Durant, who is averaging 28.6 points and 34.6 minutes in the team’s previous 16 games, will be out on Friday night with a right shoulder sprain. Is this because KD has been relied on too much at the start of the season?
Brooklyn’s 11-5 and Orlando’s 4-11, but when you take Durant out of the lineup, that leaves James Harden behind him with 20.3 points per game. Harden hasn’t exactly been consistent this season, so it doesn’t feel entirely comforting he’ll be leading the charge.
The Nets were the preseason title favorites, and with Kyrie Irving not being an option as of right now, KD’s been the team’s lone driving force. There was already the question of if he’d be able to continue to play at such a high level for the entirety of the regular season, but for him to be out with an injury in the 17th game of the season isn’t good. At all. Could be time to panic a bit.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is out with a shoulder sprain against Orlando.
If this were to turn into a long-term/nagging injury, Brooklyn’s chances of winning the NBA championship would be sure to take a significant hit.
Durant’s been playing through the shoulder injury, which makes his start to the season that much more impressive. For the Nets, though, that isn’t a good thing. It’s nice that KD will be able to rest against the worst team in the Eastern Conference, but this isn’t the type of injury/absence they can afford in the early going when they’re trying to establish their footing atop the Eastern Conference.
It’ll make matters much worse if Brooklyn somehow finds a way to lose to Orlando. If the Nets can’t beat a four-win team without Durant, what can they do? Hopefully this is all premature, but it’s still a red flag moving forward. If Brooklyn can do KD any favors right now, it’d be to make a trade so that his load doesn’t become too much to bear as the year progresses.
Maybe tonight’s game will be a chance for Harden to gain some of his confidence back. All eyes will be on him. But the headlines will focus on Durant’s absence, especially if this contest doesn’t go as planned, because now the Nets moving forward without Irving and a potentially hobbled Durant changes the entire landscape of the NBA.