With the NBA taking a break, Kevin Durant could have enough time to rehab and return for a Brooklyn Nets playoff run.
First things first, let’s all agree that the coronavirus pandemic is a huge problem. It’s shut out sports all around the globe with the NBA acting as the first domino to trigger a country-wide shutdown in the United States.
Of course, global health concerns are more important than basketball, but to keep ourselves occupied during this hiatus, we have to look ahead. The postponed schedule could work as an advantage for the Brooklyn Nets.
Prior to the league’s hiatus, the Nets were likely going to play a red-hot Toronto Raptors with aspirations of a return to the NBA Finals. Obviously, Kawhi Leonard is no longer there, but through 64 games, Toronto proved they are for real once again.
Prior to the break, the Nets were led by Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris. LeVert is showing flashes of brilliance, Dinwiddie has been strong all season, and Harris doesn’t always excite, but he’s as steady as they come.
The Nets had a nice little squad, but they would be no match for the Raptors in a seven-game series. But what if we add Kevin Durant to the mix?
Sure, it’s a crazy idea considering the consistent messaging from Durant and Brooklyn regarding his rehab from an Achilles injury. The oft-heard line from Durant was that he had absolutely no plans to suit up during the 2019-20 season. Why will that change now?
Depending on how long the NBA postpones the season, it could line up nicely with Durant’s rehab schedule. The superstar forward and two-time Olympic gold medal winner was on the preliminary list for Team USA’s 2020 Olympics roster.
Although the Olympics are in serious jeopardy, the basketball is scheduled to begin on July 24. It’s safe to assume Durant was planning on playing because he appeared on the 44-man preliminary roster.
Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said he was only choosing players he knew would have an interest in playing. Durant’s business manager and friend, Rich Kleiman, also said the superstar wouldn’t rule the Olympics out.
“[Tokyo is] definitely a possibility,” Kleiman told Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. “He allowed his name to be in the group of finalists. But there are other benchmarks in front of him that are more important before he makes those decisions.”
And the idea that the NBA season will be pushed back until July is not as ridiculous as it may seem. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said there’s a possibility that the season goes into mid-August during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up,
Durant might not be the ex machina that will put Brooklyn over the top, but his return is certainly possible. And there’s no knowing how close he’ll be to his old self, but with Durant on the floor, an upset of the Raptors is possible. After all, he’s Kevin Durant. You know who he is.
While a return from Durant is possible. Seeing a healthy Kyrie Irving is improbable. The mercurial point guard struggled through multiple injuries this season. Finally, in late February, he decided to shut it down and undergo shoulder surgery.
The expectation is that he will be ready for the 2020-21 season, but even late July, early August feels like it would be far too quick of a turnaround. But again, it’s improbable, not impossible.
With all that said, this is all speculation at this point. For all we know, the Nets could opt to kick the can down the road and wait for the 2020-21 season to debut the Durant-Irving pairing.
There’s really no predicting this NBA season because we have no idea when the league will end the hiatus. But for now, Nets fans can imagine a healthy Durant leading the seven seed on a Cinderella run through the Eastern Conference. Hey, crazier things have happened.