It had been more than a year since Kevin Durant had played in a regular season game when the Brooklyn Nets took the court on NBA opening night last Tuesday. Durant finally made his return after missing all of last season due to an Achilles injury he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals.
With Durant, Brooklyn is getting an offensive weapon that can take over a game at any time.
No one knows exactly how much we should expect from Kevin Durant this year, but his first two games did give us a sneak peek of his 2020-21 season. If the games against the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics indicate anything, it’s that we should have high expectations from the Nets forward.
Here are our 5 bold predictions for Kevin Durant’s 2020-21 NBA season:
5. Return to scorer’s mentality
Kyrie Irving is running the show as the starting point guard for the Brooklyn Nets, leaving Kevin Durant with nothing to worry about from a playmaking standpoint. In the first two games, Durant averaged 3.0 assists per game. Not bad for a scorer but it’s unusual to see him averaging less than 3.5 assists in a season.
Granted that it’s still early, it’s likely that Kevin Durant will focus more on scoring rather than playing an all-around game, including being a defensive stopper.
This season, look for Durant to go back to his roots as a scorer at roughly 29.0 points per game.
4. Outplay Kawhi Leonard
In the last few years, the NBA has been dominated by exceptional wing players such as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kevin Durant.
More than the others, Leonard took Durant’s spot atop that prestigious list as the Nets forward missed all of last season. Many considered Leonard as the game’s best player after he steered the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title in 2019.
Kevin Durant has too much pride to let someone upstage him, especially after he worked hard to be on equal footing with LeBron James over the last few years.
When the Brooklyn Nets face the LA Clippers twice this season, Durant will see to it that he outplays Leonard in their matchups. Count on it.
3. Feud with Kyrie Irving
One of the best things about the Brooklyn Nets this season has been the friendship between Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. While everything has been going great between the two after two consecutive victories, their relationship hasn’t been tested during rocky moments.
Durant is undoubtedly the alpha dog on this Nets team. He will be holding Irving accountable for his mistakes when the Nets go through a rough patch this season, even if it means getting in the All-Star guard’s face when necessary. The two will clash eventually. It’s just a matter of when.
2. Return to All-NBA team status
The league didn’t miss a beat without Kevin Durant during the 2019-20 season as other players such as Bam Adebayo stepped up to fill the void. This year, Durant will reclaim his rightful place among the league’s elite.
Prior to his injury, Kevin Durant was either in the All-NBA First or Second Team annually. He will become that player again if the Brooklyn Nets continue this trend of blowing teams out this season, and they end up with one of the top two records in the Eastern Conference.
Reserve a spot for Kevin Durant on an All-NBA team and don’t be surprised if he makes the First Team as well.
1. Earn MVP votes
Aside from the 29.0 points nightly average prediction, Kevin Durant will get back to shooting more than 50 percent from the field this season as he leads the Brooklyn Nets to one of the top records in the East.
As everyone knows, the best players on the best teams almost always end up being MVP candidates. This year will be no different as Kevin Durant will show the voters that he’s capable of carrying a team on his back.
After being criticized for riding on the coattails of the historic Golden State Warriors team the last few years, Durant will prove that he deserves to receive MVP votes for being the top player on the Brooklyn Nets.Published 26 Dec 2020, 16:26 IST