• E-Benny

Kevin Durant Ruptured His Achilles Tendon. But Here's Why Nets Fans Shouldn't Be Worried.

"Easy Money Sniper" is a one-of-a-kind scorer. His perimeter game, shot selection, quick dribble and height advantage make him an anomaly. 75% of KD is still elite.

#basketball #NBA #sports #ESPN #Sportscenter

Kevin Durant was on the final year of his contract during the 2018-19 NBA season and this situation created numerous headlines during the season. Everybody expected him to leave the unconquerable Golden State Warriors to pursue his own championship.

However, Durant cruised through the season posting elite numbers as he averaged 26 PPG on 52.1 FG% and 35.3 3P%. He was fairly healthy during the season as he played a total of 78 regular season games. It was rather his advanced stats which took hits such as his PER of 24.2 and win shares of 11.5.

"I'm Kevin Durant! You know who I am. Y'all know who I am."

This was his statement after he heard the criticism voiced by defensive guard, Patrick Beverly. The next game, he scored 38 points on 73% from the floor to take the lead to 2-1. He then became the first to average 30 PPG while shooting at a 50-40-90 clip.

The Injury

During Game 5 of the Western conference semifinals, Kevin Durant went for his classic midrange jumper in the low post against Iman Shumpert and drilled the shot. However, after landing and running back on defense, he felt a sharp pain in his calf area of his left leg and was unable to freely move. He left the game unsure if he would be back for the next round.

Nonetheless, the Houston Rockets miserably failed to defeat the Warriors as Klay, Draymond and Steph made light work of Houston's defense and Harden looked passive in the fourth quarters despite posting elite numbers.

The Final Straw

He finally retuned during game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. Everything seemed fine during his warmup as he drilled his shots despite the boos from the crowd. The game started and he drilled his shots as usual. He shot efficiently from the field and only missed two shots.

Unfortunately, his achilles tendon gave up as he went for a dribble against former teammate, Serge Ibaka. It was apparent that he ruptured it when he started to clutch his right heel. Toronto fans were undiplomatic with their cheers but this injury both led many Warriors fans worrying if the dynasty was over. In addition, it was unclear if the New York Knicks were going to give Durant a max contract with an injury like this.

The Departure

Kevin Durant with current Nets teammate, Kyrie Irving

Durant joined All Star guard, Kyrie Irving to sign a max contract with the Brooklyn Nets worth $164M, turning down the $221M from the Warriors to stay. Now, his next chapter has finally begun despite the fact that he probably wouldn't play a single game for the Nets this season.

However, Nets fans should not worry about his injury despite the severity of it. So far only Dominique Wilkins has been able to put up better or similar numbers after suffering an injury like that. Isiah Thompson and Elgin Baylor retired while Kobe Bryant and Demarcus Cousins failed to attain their previous potential.

Nonetheless, this is why Kevin Durant is an anomaly in this situation.

Height Advantage

At 6'11, he is already one of the tallest small forwards in the league. At such a height, it is a easier to perform tasks such as dunking, shooting over small/undersized defenders and shot-blocking.

He's already hard to guard and such a size even with an achilles injury and the craftiness of Durant will still contribute big buckets to the team.

Shot Efficiency

Kevin Durant's mechanics and shot consistency is absolutely phenomenal. For someone at his height to shoot the ball with such accuracy is super rare. Only Dirk Nowitzky, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon have been able to achieve such success. However, Kevin Durant is a scorer and his perimeter game is fantastic to watch.

He has managed to shoot above 50% in field goal percentage for seven seasons while joining the 50-40-90 club during the 2012-13 NBA season and also during the 2018-19 NBA Playoffs. His midrange shot is literally unguardable and he possesses an elite three-point shot as well.

Elite Offensive Arsenal

Durant's offensive arsenal is just as legendary as Jordan's and Bird's. His midrange game from almost anywhere in the perimeter is unstoppable. He has mastered Dirk's one-legged fadeaway jumpshot with ease. In addition, He is able to dunk on the toughest forwards and centers with his slender frame.

Durant is unique here because he has a very rapid first step and can easily cross over guards who may think he's easier to defend at the three-point line. Also, Durant's three-point shot is deadly from almost anywhere on the court. He doesn't attempt that many like James Harden, Steph Curry or Paul George, but it's just as reliable as theirs.

Durant's post-up game and footwork is also potent. He doesn't attempt many as well but he can easily score from those positions. Durant can also get to the freethrow line with ease and sink shots from that position.

I do believe Kevin Durant is going to lose some of his athleticism due to this injury, however, I do not doubt the fact that he is going to drop buckets as usual. He might have a harder time getting shots up against quicker and smart defenders, but he is still likely to average 24 PPG when he comes back healthy.

Age And Improvement

Kevin Durant is only 30 years old and still has a lot in him before he finally retires. Many other players who ruptured their achilles did so after their peak. Kobe was 34 years when he ruptured his against the Golden State Warriors, Elgin Baylor was 36 and Isiah Thomas was 33. Some other players such as Demarcus Cousins and Brandon Jennings tore theirs at a young age but didn't possess the elite dribbling and scoring abilities like Kevin. Demarcus was a 25 and 12 player in his prime but he suffered other injuries during his comeback such as an ACL tear and torn quad.

Excellent Team Chemistry

Kevin Durant has always been a good teammate. He rarely had issues with teammates on the Seattle Supersonics, OKC Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. He had good times with Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Durant was the offensive leader throughout his career except on the Warriors and his presence led to many team victories.

Final Thoughts

Overall, getting the greatest perimeter shooter in the game right now is a huge deal. Even though Durant is obviously going to lose some form of athleticism after suffering this grave injury, his diverse offensive game, young age, great team chemistry and height advantage serve as outliers for his injury case. Kevin Durant is a legendary freak of nature and judging by his accomplishments, every team would like to have him on their roster.

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