The 2019-20 NBA season will likely go down as the most surreal in the history of the sport, and for reasons that go beyond the pandemic that forced the league into a four-month hiatus.
The NBA last season was an NBA without Kevin Durant, whose torn Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals eliminated any possibility of playing in the 2019-20 season, even if it was artificially lengthened. He also changed teams by signing with the Brooklyn Nets after three years with the Golden State Warriors, but his absence anywhere meant the NBA was without one of its premier stars.
Durant is now poised to return to the court with the Nets this month, and at least one of his teammates thinks the game will be better for it.
Caris LeVert on Kevin Durant’s return
Nets guard Caris LeVert gave reporters a progress report on Durant on Thursday, saying the forward looked as advertised while working out together in Los Angeles.
"Kevin is right back where he was and I think everybody will see that...the game honestly wasn't the same without him"
Caris LeVert talks about working out with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during the offseason pic.twitter.com/upHzFUaEk8
— SNY (@SNYtv) December 4, 2020
“It was good to see Kevin come back from a tough injury like that,” LeVert said. “I think that Kevin is right back where he was and I think everybody will see that. I’m excited. I’m excited for him, I’m excited for everybody to get him back, because the game honestly wasn’t the same without him. I know he’s super-excited to get back to playing.”
LeVert may not be wrong about the game not feeling the same, as last year’s playoffs ended up being a strange one behind closed doors at Disney World.
Without Durant, the NBA was left with a somewhat shallow top tier of the league last season. The Los Angeles Lakers obviously took care of business, but the Los Angeles Clippers collapsed in embarrassing fashion and the Milwaukee Bucks collapsed in normal fashion.
With a hopefully healthy Durant and Kyrie Irving finally playing together, the Nets will be looking to establish that new kind of power player on the NBA landscape and could ratchet up the league’s entertainment value in the process.
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