Nets’ Kevin Durant returning at 80% would be like Dirk Nowitzki, Spencer Dinwiddie claims
Spencer Dinwiddie and Dirk Nowitzki might be wondering if injured Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant will be healthy enough to compete—for the first time this season—for the playoff-bound Eastern Conference team.
According to Dinwiddie, a Durant postseason appearance would be a godsend for Brooklyn, akin to a “Dirk Nowitzki” level of player (per ESPN’s “First Take,” via Nets Wire):
I look at it like this: at 80%, he’s Dirk Nowitzki. At 100%, he’s the best scorer of all time, and anywhere in between, he’s still, what, a top-three small forward in the league. So, we’re all gonna see. We’re all waiting. I know he’s working extremely hard, but he’s blessed, I think. It’s a little bit different than other people that suffered the Achilles. Outside of obviously Dominique Wilkins, who came back better [after Achilles surgery], the other people that kind of struggled, he’s probably the best shooter of that group. I don’t see a world where he’s not one of the elite players in the world when he comes back.
Durant, 31, joined the Nets last offseason in a sign-and-trade from the Golden State Warriors, where he was a back-to-back NBA champion and Finals MVP in his three years with the Bay Area organization following the controversial departure from his longtime Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant suffered an Achilles tendon injury in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, later sitting out the entire regular season for the Nets up until the league’s suspension of operations in mid-March.
The delay in resuming the regular season and eventually the start of the NBA’s 2020 playoffs has brought Durant’s injury and recovery back into the spotlight, although the one-time league MVP’s close friend and business partner, Rich Kleiman, has denied any talk of Durant making his Nets debut during the 2019-20 campaign recently.