When Kevin Durant tore off his Achilles a few weeks after a calf injury in the 2019 NBA Finals, some feared it might be the beginning of the end for him to become a legitimate superstar.
He left the Golden State Warriors soon after to join the Brooklyn Nets and he missed the entire 2019-20 season to recover from his injury.
When he returned to the 2020-21 campaign, Durant impressed everyone with his big numbers: 26.7 points from 53.7 percent shooting on the field and 45.0 percent from the 3-point range, 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
This season, he has maintained his post-injury superiority with an average of 29.9 points, his highest scoring average since 2014 when he won the League MVP award, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists.
– BrooklynNets (BrooklynNets) December 31, 2021
Durant will turn 34 next season, but he seems to be getting old, and if LeBron James and Chris Paul give any indication of what they were doing in their mid-30s, there could be a few more elite years left.
Is it a safe bet if he is healthy?
Durant has been dinging for the past two years
Although he has fully recovered from an injury that has ended the careers of virtually every NBA player who has suffered from it, Durant has had some trouble staying healthy lately.
In his first season, he played in only 35 of 72 tournaments and has missed 27 games this season.
Durant’s body has been compromised due to Achilles’ injury, and there are always concerns that he may soon suffer another significant injury that could end his performance.
For example, one might look at the late Kobe Bryant.
He tore up his Achilles at the end of the 2012-13 season and he returned in December 2013.
He came back for six games when it looked like he was starting to get his game back, but then he suffered a lateral tibial plateau fracture that knocked him out for the rest of the season.
When Bryant returned for 2014-15, he had a very weak shadow over who he was and in his last two seasons, he has not been able to shoot 38 percent from the field.
Each athlete’s body begins to break down individually, and the net needs to make sure that the games Durant has missed in the last two years are not just due to regular injuries and not because his expiration date is about to expire.
The big advantage he has
Unlike some wings, Durant doesn’t really rely on his athleticism or the ability to jump which he does.
He relies a bit on his speed, but he is mostly a skillful, fine player and this will allow him to age well if he avoids any major injury.
– Net Republic (etsNetsRepublic) December 31, 2021
Durant is one of the smoothest players the NBA has ever seen, and his shooting, ball-handling and passing abilities should be quite stable.
The Nets still have a lot of potential to move forward, though many Nassaires think so, and Durant’s biggest reason.