Kevin Durant turned 34 two weeks ago Thursday. After celebrating his 33rd by averaging the most minutes he had played since the 2013-14 season, the hope is that this year won’t come with a similar milestone.
“In a perfect world, we can really limit his minutes so he’s fresh and can get through the season,” Nets coach Steve Nash said following Tuesday’s practice. “But we don’t live in a perfect world.
“It would be ideal if we could keep his minutes down. I think it’s something we just have to communicate on continually and try to figure out the best action forward, not just in the day-to-day, but in the big picture.”
Translation: The Nets know that fewer minutes would be ideal for Durant, who missed the 2019-20 season after tearing his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals. They also know it is not particularly likely that they can afford to keep him off the floor as much as they would like.
Durant averaged 37.2 minutes per game last season in 55 games, saying at one point that he felt the Nets’ season was “derailed” by an injury to his left MCL. Though other factors were very much at play, Durant’s lack of availability certainly didn’t help, and the Nets were more dependent on him than they would have liked, given their trio of superstars.