Posted on: February 24, 2023, 09:49h.
Final up to date on: February 24, 2023, 12:48h.
All-Star ahead Kevin Durant has but to Play a recreation with the Phoenix Suns since they acquired him two weeks in the past in a commerce with the Brooklyn Nets. Durant is predicted to make his debut with the Suns throughout an upcoming street journey, which may occur as early as this Sunday afternoon.
Durant has been nursing a sprained proper knee. He final suited up for the Nets within the first week of January earlier than he sustained an MCL sprain.
In 39 video games with the Nets this season, Durant averaged 29.7 factors, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per recreation. He shot 55.9% from the ground and 37.6% from 3-point vary. He’s additionally taking pictures a career-high 93.4% from the free-throw line.
Durant had a full-contact apply with the Suns this week. However head coach Monty Williams dominated him out for Friday night time’s recreation towards the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.
The Suns start a four-game street journey on Sunday with a nationally televised recreation towards the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s a rematch of the 2021 NBA Finals, and a few prognosticators suppose each groups may meet once more within the 2023 NBA Finals.
If the Suns wish to give Durant a pair extra days of relaxation, he may make his debut subsequent Wednesday towards the Charlotte Hornets on March 1.
The Large ‘D’ in KD
Durant joined the Suns in apply this week, together with in a full-blown scrimmage on Thursday. His new teammates have been impressed along with his protection, which is without doubt one of the most underrated facets of his recreation. Everybody is aware of Durant is without doubt one of the greatest offensive gamers within the NBA, a shooter who is almost inconceivable to defend. However the Suns have been shortly reminded that Durant excels on each ends of the court docket.
Individuals overlook KD can be a two-way celebrity,” stated middle Deandre Ayton. “The dude can defend. He’s only a competitor. He’s not gonna simply allow you to rating this f—ing ball. He’s taller than you suppose he’s, his arms are lengthy as hell. It’s simply loopy.”
Durant is listed at 6-foot-10, however he has the size of a seven-footer. He has the scale to defend all three frontline positions, but in addition has the quickness to defend guards on the perimeter.
“It’s all the time robust as a result of he can provide you somewhat little bit of area and you are feeling like you’ve room to shoot and he can nonetheless get a superb contest on it or get a finger on it,” stated taking pictures guard Devin Booker. “It’s actually robust to attain on him.”
Durant averages extra blocked photographs (1.5) than Ayton (0.7) this season.
“Once you consider rim safety, you consider a 5,” stated Williams. “It’s uncommon that you just consider a man that may Play 2, 3, 4, who can shut out and block photographs and contest photographs, however also can go to the rim and cease guys from scoring on the rim with [a] onerous contest and even blocking photographs.”
The Suns want each little bit of Durant’s protection, as a result of they gave up their high defender, ahead Mikal Bridges, to accumulate Durant from the Nets.
Betting the Suns After the Durant Commerce
Bettors haven’t been shy about backing the Suns since they acquired Durant on the commerce deadline. The Suns at the moment are the second betting favourite on DraftKings’ NBA futures board at +425 odds to Win the 2022-23 championship. Previous to the commerce deadline, the Suns have been +1800 odds to Win the title.
The Suns are in fifth place within the Western Convention standings with a 32-28 document. They’re the outright favourite to Win the Western Convention at +225 odds with Durant within the lineup.
The Denver Nuggets (42-16) have the perfect document within the West and the second-best document within the NBA. With a 10-game lead over the Suns, the Nuggets ought to safe the #1 playoff seed within the Western Convention. The Nuggets will want home-court benefit within the postseason in the event that they count on to fend off Durant and the Suns.
The Pacific Division has the tightest divisional race within the NBA in the course of the remaining quarter of the season. Six video games separate the Sacramento Kings (33-25) in first place and the Los Angeles Lakers (28-32) in fifth place. The third-place Suns are two video games out of first place, however only a half-game behind the LA Clippers (33-28) in second place. The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors (29-30) occupy fourth place within the division.
The Suns are the betting favourite to Win the Pacific Division at -130 odds, adopted by the Clippers (+220), Kings (+450), Warriors (+3000), and Lakers (+5500).