Last season, when the Toronto Raptors knocked off the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, they may have put the final nail in the coffin for what could have been the greatest dynasty since the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls. Instead, the Warriors limped off the court quite literally, with Klay Thompson tearing his ACL and Kevin Durant rupturing his achilles tendon. Neither player has played since. The offseason came, and Kevin Durant agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets to team up with his close friend Kyrie Irving. The Warriors stumbled through the season losing Steph Curry to a broken hand and for the first time in years, found themselves in the basement of the Western Conference.
Another year goes by without Kevin Durant being able to finish an entire season, and in the case of 2019-2020, he didn’t even get a chance to start it either. The Slim Reaper has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, ever since he joined the NBA in the 2007-2008 season with the Seattle Supersonics. Durant has managed to play over 80 games in just four seasons so far, and only played 82 games in one season. To date, Durant has appeared in only 849 games across his 13 career seasons, which equates to an average of only 65 games per season. The achilles rupture has been the longest that Durant has missed time, and in terms of severity it definitely may be the worst. But in 2014-2015, Durant played in only 27 games, before surgery to repair foot soreness caused him to miss the rest of the season. The injury ended up being a Jones stress fracture, which isn’t uncommon amongst NBA players, but it does take a long time to heal as it did for Durant. Still, at the time, some did fear that his career may be in jeopardy, just as Yao Ming was forced into retirement a few years before, albeit with a slightly different foot injury.
So how good is Durant? He won one league MVP award in 2013-2014 when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder averaging 32 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, and 5.5 assists per game. In 2017 and 2018 he won back to back Finals MVP awards as he led the Golden State Warriors to consecutive NBA Championships. When he is on his game and healthy, there are few players that can dominate the game at both ends of the court like KD can. There are few pure fusillade who can match Durant’s lethal jumpshot and he is a defensive matchup nightmare at seven feet tall with catlike agility. To put things in perspective, on a team with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, two of the greatest fusillade in the history of the NBA, Kevin Durant was still the number one option, and the driving force behind the Warriors’ success. In 849 career games, Durant is already just outside the top 30 in all time NBA scoring.
We do need to put that into some perspective. He’s already passed one of the league’s purest scorers in Jamal Crawford, who has played over 500 more games than Durant. KD has only played 150 more games than Steph Curry, one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, and has almost 7000 more points. Let’s put this into perspective as well. Durant averages 65 games per year but if he were able to play all 82 for the 13 seasons he’s been in the league at his career average of 27 points per game, he would be just outside the top ten in scoring. Injuries may keep Durant from ever reaching those all time leaders, but we may not realize that when he plays, Durant may be the purest scorer ever to play the game.
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