As Expected, Kevin Durant On The Suns Is Pretty Terrifying
OK, before we dive in, we have to talk about how weird that picture above is. It's going to take my brain a few games to get used to seeing KD in a Suns jersey, and this happens from time to time when guys join new teams. Sometimes it just looks weird. Remember Tony Parker in a Hornets jersey?
That will always be weird to me.
Looking at that KD picture, it feels more like the jersey photoshops you see on Twitter, but nope. It's real. The best part is, NBA players feel the same way!
It was the one trade deadline domino that truly has the potential to shift the landscape of a conference, which is why basketball fans everywhere couldn't wait to see how it looked. As someone who enjoys watching KD play basketball, it was a long 52 days. The NBA is better when Kevin Durant is on the floor, and his Suns debut was a nice reminder why
The beauty of KD is the fact that he's built for every type of basketball system on the planet. While other stars take some time to work into a system, it's not like that with KD. You can plug him in anywhere and you won't skip a beat. I know the Suns were playing the Hornets last night and everyone looks awesome against that defense, but don't overthink it. This was a preview of what might be in store for the stretch run and that's terrifying for the rest of that conference.
It wasn't just his 23/6/2 on 10-15 (2-4) in his 27 minutes, it was how everyone works together. The other day I blogged how I was interested to see how KD/Booker worked together since Booker is such an improved passer, and the early returns suggest that pairing is going to be great
It's not just about assists to KD, it's about the gravity that KD creates which opens things up for everyone else. Only 1 of Booker's 7 assists went to KD. When you have a star like Booker who is also a willing passer (8.0 AST average over his last 4 games), the Suns become so much harder to guard with KD now on the floor.
Personally, I wished they debuted KD against the Bucks so we could have seen how this stacks up against legit competition, but after another tune up game vs CHI tomorrow. we'll get that answer with DAL/SAC/GS (maybe w/ Steph)/MIL in the Suns immediate future. As a team, the Suns are 3 behind SAC for 3rd in the West, and they have a 1.5 lead over GS for 4th. Things are about to get pretty damn exciting, so having Durant back for this stretch is awesome, especially since he looks like he never missed any time.
I'm not sure we make a big enough deal about that with Durant. Nobody has ever come back from his achilles injury and been as good as KD has, and then if not for a freak accident where someone fell into his leg, it didn't look like there were going to be any injury issues. Then he misses 50 days and immediately comes back and goes 10-15. That is an insane basketball talent. Would anyone have cared if he was a little rusty? It's normal to go from not playing NBA basketball to suddenly playing 27 minutes and maybe needing a game or two to get your legs under you or your rhythm.
With KD, he stepped on the floor and was immediately the same old Kevin Durant. I find that to be extremely impressive.
While some other teams look to be having issues integrating their star trade deadline acquisition, my gut tells me the Suns won't have that same issue, and that could be trouble for everyone else.