Kevin Durant’s Comeback Season

Jordan StephensonStaff Writer

Since Kevin Durant was drafted out of college, he has been destined to be great. He was drafted No.2 overall by the Seattle SuperSonics, now called the Oklahoma City Thunder. Throughout his 14-year career he has lived up to his expectations and even outperformed his expectations. After rupturing his Achilles tendon in game 5 of the NBA Finals vs the Raptors, many analysts were not expecting KD to be his usual efficient and great self, because they were comparing him to how others came back from their Achilles injuries. In this article I’ll explain the expectations on KD, how he outperformed his expectations, and how he had one of his greatest seasons ever.

KD had a fantastic 2020-21 NBA season, after not playing basketball for 18 months, because of his Achilles injury he sustained and because of the NBA shutdown because of the COVID outbreak. In the regular season, he averaged 26.9 points per game (ppg), 7.1 rebounds per game (rpg), 5.6 assists per game (apg), 1.3 blocks while shooting a career high in 53.7 percent field goals and 45 percent, 3 pointers. He also shot 88.2 percent from the free throw line as usual.

During that season, he made the all-star team and became and all-star captain, but sadly couldn’t participate in the all-star game because of a lingering hamstring injury.

I honestly was so devastated for him because he definitely deserved to play and I feel like if he played his team would’ve had a great chance to win that game, rather than getting blown out by Lebron’s team.

Before KD had minor injuries and COVID contact tracing protocols, he was squarely top 3 in the MVP discussion. In my honest opinion, if KD wasn’t subjected to all of that I feel like he would have won the MVP because of his narrative, and he would’ve made an All-NBA team, which he truly deserved. As a fan of KD, I was so devastated for him that he couldn’t achieve any of these things because of injuries and COVID contact tracing protocols.

In the playoffs, KD elevated his game and averaged 34.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.5 steels, 1.6 blocks; while shooting 51.4 percent field goals, 40.2 percent 3 pointers, and 87.1 percent free throws. In game 5 of the ECSF vs the Bucks, he had one of his greatest overall/statistical games of his career.

He had 49 points, 17 rebounds, and a 10-assist triple-doubles, while playing all 48 minutes in a huge win for the Nets. This type of statistical triple-double had never been reached before in playoff history. Then in game 7 vs the Bucks, KD had 48 minutes points, played all 53 because of overtime, hit a game-tying mid-range shot, which was supposed to be a 3-pointer, but sadly his foot was on the line and they lost in overtime.

I honestly feel like if KD’s foot was behind the 3-point line that he would’ve hit the 3, and the Nets would’ve won because Giannis missed the game-winning shot. After his masterful playoff run but a heartbreaking loss to the Bucks in game 7; KD then had his eyes set on joining the USA Olympic team and winning another gold medal.

When push came to shove, KD stopped deferring and started to take over games. He became the undisputed leader of the team, the top scorer, and he became their clutch shooter in the fourth quarter. During the Olympic gold medal run, KD surpassed Carmelo Anthony for first on the all-time scoring list, while also capturing this third straight gold medal.

KD accomplished all of these feats and accomplishments, while returning from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. In my opinion, this was the greatest if not one of the greatest comeback seasons of all time.

Also, I feel like that this was KD’s best season because he exceeded expectations and elevated his team and game in the playoffs. After this great season he had, I feel like KD is the best player in the world right now. The expectations for KD and the Nets are at an all-time high, and I 100 percent believe that he’ll exceed expectations.

Kevin Durant / Image Courtesy of nba.com