What Is Kevin Durant’s Record in Season Openers?

Brooklyn Nets small forward Kevin Durant will play in his 13th season opener on October 19, 2021, against the Milwaukee Bucks. It should be a feisty game since the Bucks eliminated the Nets in the second round of the 2021 playoffs.

Durant is entering his third season with the Nets. He missed the entire 2019-20 campaign recovering from an Achilles tear and appeared in 35 games in 2020-21. The two-time champion averaged 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists last season while shooting 53.7% from the field, 45.0% from beyond the arc, and 88.2% from the free-throw line.

A four-time scoring champion, Durant has a history of playing well on opening night. He also has a winning record.

Kevin Durant is 7-5 in season openers in his career

With the Seattle SuperSonics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, and Nets, Durant is 7-5 in season openers. He’s averaging 24.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while shooting 42.7% from the floor, 27.3% from beyond the arc, and 83.8% from the free-throw line.

In his NBA debut on October 31, 2007, against the Denver Nuggets, Durant scored 18 points in 31 minutes while shooting 7-of-22 overall. The SuperSonics lost to the Nuggets by a final score of 120-103. They didn’t win their first game of the 2007-08 season until November 14 versus the Miami Heat.

Durant’s best game on opening night took place on October 30, 2013, versus the Utah Jazz. He put up 42 points in 39 minutes to lead the Thunder to a 101-98 victory on the road.

A two-time Finals MVP, Durant has missed two season openers during his career due to injury. The first missed game took place in 2014, while the second one was in 2019.

Why didn’t Kevin Durant play on opening night in 2014 and 2019?

Durant missed the first 17 games of the 2014-15 season due to a right foot fracture. He underwent surgery in October and returned to the court on December 2, 2014. The one-time MVP played in 27 games and averaged 25.4 points. Unfortunately, he was shut down for the season in February after undergoing a third surgery on the fractured bone in his foot.

As aforementioned, Durant didn’t play at all in 2019-20. He tore his right Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 Finals against the Toronto Raptors as a member of the Warriors. During the summer of 2019, Durant signed a four-year, $164.3 million contract with Brooklyn as part of a sign-and-trade deal with Golden State.

Durant proved in 2020-21 that he has completely recovered from his Achilles tear and is arguably the best player in the world. Now, his next challenge will be to lead the Nets to a championship. However, it may be difficult since his starting point guard isn’t with the team.

Kyrie Irving can’t play until he gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Kyrie Irving can’t practice or play in a game until he gets the COVID-19 vaccine. The Nets had a 2-0 lead on the Bucks in the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals, but they lost the series in seven games after Irving and James Harden got hurt.

Durant and Harden are talented enough to lead the Nets to the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season. However, it will be fascinating to see if Brooklyn can win the title without Irving, who became the ninth player in NBA history to shoot 50/40/90 in a season last year.

Durant will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day. He’s a two-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, and one-time regular-season MVP. However, KD likely wants to win a title with the Nets, a franchise that has two ABA championships but zero NBA rings. It would certainly be special for Durant to lead Brooklyn to its first NBA championship. We’ll see if he’s able to accomplish that feat.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference

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