Anticipation in Phoenix has been through the roof ever since they traded for superstar and all-time talent Kevin Durant in early February. It was at a considerable price too as they mainly gave up two key pieces in Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson alongside four unprotected first-round picks (2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029).
Still, it’s KD, the long-armed, 6’10, Swiss-Army Knife type of scorer that has two championships and can certainly drive your team to the promise land. You have to make that trade.
Sadly, though, the Suns’ fate is toying with them lately. Durant has only appeared in three games as a Sun thus far, and all were on the road. He tweaked his ankle in his would-be home debut last March 9th (Manila time) during warm-ups, roughly an hour before tip-off. He’s been out since.
The Suns looked fine for one game, but KD’s absence was felt right after. They are now just 1-6 in their last seven outings, three of which came by double-digits. The most recent L, a 135-127 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, might be the most frustrating of all as they went into halftime with an 11-point lead, but then got pummelled in the third quarter, 45-26, surrendering the momentum and failing to take it back until the final buzzer. It gets worse. That lone win was actually a 116-113 battle against the lottery-bound, Orlando Magic, who are 31-43 on the season.
The Suns are an underwhelming 38-35 on the season, down to just 5th in the West after being overtaken by the LA Clippers. They are also just a game behind the 39-36 Golden State Warriors.
With all that, Durant’s return simply couldn’t come any sooner, which is probably why the 34-year-old will now attempt to play before the playoffs instead of waiting until the postseason, like the rumour mill suggested weeks back.
Here’s what Shams Charania reported on Saturday morning:
Though still small in sample size, KD has instantly integrated himself in the Suns’ overall offense. In those three games, he has put up 26.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.3 BPG on an insane 69% shooting, including 53.8% from downtown. That level of accuracy is pretty much like a created player – EasyMoneySniper living up to his name, I guess.
We’ve all been eagerly waiting for his 1-2 scoring punch with Devin Booker. Just imagine how potent it can be. It’s two of the best scorers mid-range weapons in the game today, and they have ‘Point God’ Chris Paul to run the show and DeAndre Ayton in the interior to help divert the attention further.
Booker has been locked in on offense this month as well, scoring 33.8 PPG on 58.5% shooting over his last 11 games, highlighted by 44-point and 46-point explosions. It makes you
If the targeted return pushes through, it should be quite the game. The Suns are in need of momentum to close out the regular season, while the Minnesota Timberwolves are just 37-37, currently slotted 7th in the Western Conference, and fighting hard to climb out of the play-in spots. Minny’s star big man, Karl-Anthony Towns is also back in action, and just as focused as Durant.
Being in win-now mode is making Phoenix be more cautious with their new superstar, but it will also be great for KD to add as much regular season games as possible under his belt. It will generate more rhythm and familiarity that’s sure to aid them in various situations once the postseason starts. As we’ve all seen year after year: it’s a whole new ballgame for everyone as everything heightens.