Where would the Brooklyn Nets be without Kevin Durant? He’s averaging 28.6 points per game and is behind Steph Curry in the MVP conversation, but it’s not reasonable to assume that he’ll continue to play at the rate he’s been for the rest of the season. Out of Brooklyn’s 24 games so far, he’s only sat out in one.
That game was against Orlando on Nov. 19 and due to shoulder soreness. KD’s averaging 36 minutes per game, the most since he was with Oklahoma City in 2013-14. That was both seven years ago and before he ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He’s now 33 years old, and if the Nets want to get the most out of his exceptional talent, his rest needs to be more of a priority.
In Brooklyn’s win over New York last Tuesday, Durant logged 41 minutes after playing 45 minutes three days prior. Following the game, Steve Nash was blatant about KD’s workload. He said that the only alternative to Durant playing less is the Nets losing more, which wasn’t exactly an encouraging response from the team’s head coach.
KD himself said that he would play for 48 minutes if he could, but that’s not an abnormal thing for a player to say. He wants to help Brooklyn as much as he can, but the reality is that he may not be able to do that if he’s not given the proper amount of rest.
Steve Nash can’t afford not to rest Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.
Durant’s leading the charge for the Nets right now, but what will be the outlook in the late regular season? Will he be healthy and ready for the playoffs? Or will he be worn down?
The hope is that KD will be in prime form come April, but it’s tough to see that happening given the number of minutes that he’s logged.
Durant hit a wall in the game against the Knicks and couldn’t knock down his usual amount of shots, so after watching that, it seemed like maybe Nash would rest him during Brooklyn’s back-to-back games later that weekend. Nope. He had a different point of view.
Durant played in 38 minutes last Friday, and in another 38 minutes on Saturday. It looks like Nash wasn’t able to “sneak” much rest Durant’s way.
The Nets have another back-to-back this week against Dallas and Houston before traveling to Atlanta and Detroit. The Rockets have won six straight games, but have a 7-16 record. It’d be beneficial for Durant to sit out on Wednesday (or see limited minutes). It’d also give James Harden the spotlight to shine against his former team.
If KD doesn’t sit out against Houston, that’ll mean that he could perhaps rest when Brooklyn faces the 4-18 Pistons on Sunday. After that, the Nets will have a four-game homestand.
It seems likely Durant will play against the Raptors or Sixers, but he could sit out against the Magic during a back-to-back. If he did, it’d mark the second time this year that he didn’t play against Orlando.
Either way, there’s no excuse for Durant not to sit out a couple of times over the next two weeks. We get that he’s a competitor and wants to play, but Nash has to focus on his star player’s longevity.