Kevin Durant holds a place as one of the most talented NBA players today. Especially with scoring, few of Durant’s peers can rival his elite, seemingly unstoppable skill set. Even before he joined the Golden State Warriors in the 2016-17 season, KD’s Hall of Fame status was as good as guaranteed.
With the Warriors, Durant won back-to-back championships in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. Many felt the team was a shoo-in to secure a three-peat next. Ultimately, injuries derailed Golden State and cost Durant a year off the court. Let’s look at his injury as well as his recent comments.
Kevin Durant’s injury and loss to the Raptors
The 2018-19 season was contentious for the Warriors as Durant’s impending free agency loomed. Then, when he and teammate Draymond Green got into an on-court verbal altercation, tensions only increased. Nonetheless, the Warriors finished with a 57-25 record, good for the first seed in the Western Conference.
The Warriors beat the LA Clippers in a surprisingly competitive six-game first-round series. Then they won against the Rockets in the second round. During the series, Durant strained his right calf. Ultimately, this kept him out through the Warriors’ sweep of the Trailblazers in the Western Finals as well as the first four games of the finals against the Raptors.
Durant returned to the court for Game 5 of the finals. At that point, the Warriors were down 3-1. Two minutes into the second quarter, KD tore his Achilles tendon driving past Raptors forward Serge Ibaka. In the offseason, Durant left the Warriors to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, where he’s sat out the entire season as he rehabs his injury.
Durant’s thoughts on his recovery
Durant recently appeared the All the Smoke podcast, hosted by former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. There he discussed many topics, from his time with the Thunder to his recent Twitter beef with Kendrick Perkins. The 31-year-old also opened up about what it’s like recovering from his injury.
Durant said he was “progressing” and was finally able to return to the court and start participating in some basketball activities. He also explained the frustrating recovery process, especially for a serious injury like an Achilles tear. Durant said all he really wanted was to go hoop, but instead, he had to focus on the small details necessary for successful rehab.
Durant also expressed his frustration being away from the game. “I feel like I hit Hall of Fame status early in my career,” Durant said. His point was that it was difficult to lose the momentum he generated in building his legacy.
Durant’s thoughts on the 2019 NBA Finals
A few minutes later, Barnes asked the NBA star about his experience during the 2018-19 Finals against the Raptors. By the time Durant returned from his injury in Game 5, the team was on the brink of elimination. He admitted he’d been fantasizing about what it’d be like to come back and help his team fight its way to a third straight title.
During the first quarter of that game, Durant said the excitement was palpable; virtually everyone on the team envisioned what a comeback would look like. “It was rough,” Durant admitted about ultimately losing to the Raptors.
Looking back, the forward said he wished the team would’ve been a little more “locked-in” during the regular season in order to have a better game plan for success once the playoffs rolled around.
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