The Phoenix Suns have been without Kevin Durant for the past two games and hamstring tightness has been the culprit. Phoenix has gone 1-1 in his absence and now sits at 18-16 on the season, good for 9th in the Western Conference.
Yes, if the season ended today, Phoenix would be on the road in a Play In game.
The 13-time All-Star is averaging 29.9 points this season, doing so on impressive shooting percentages of 52.5% from the field, a league-best 47.7% from three-point range, and 87.4% from the line. Those numbers have come at a cost as he has been the healthiest of the Suns’ Big Three this season playing in 28 games thus far.
“He’ll never say it,” fellow All-Star Devin Booker said of Durant, “but I think he needs a couple of games too. He’s had a lot on his plate this season with me and Brad being out, and it’s our job to take a lot of pressure off him.”
Booker isn’t wrong. He has missed 11 games this season with varying lower leg issues and Bradley Beal, currently the highest-paid member of the team, has missed 24. Durant has been the stabilizing force on a team desperately in need of congruity.
Durant needs rest and, quite frankly, he’s earned a few games off. The Suns, however, are entering the buzzsaw of their season. The games will get tougher as the completion level increases, and if Phoenix wants to begin hitting on all cylinders as the postseason approaches, they will need to have on-court time together to develop chemistry.
When they’re played together, they’ve been good. Really good.
The Suns' Big Three have played 64 minutes together.— John Voita (@DarthVoita) January 1, 2024
Some team stats when they're on the court together? Sure!
18.7 NETRTG pic.twitter.com/UuHDltxlUt
But 64 total minutes isn’t a lot, especially through 34 games.
Durant’s injury status is what is preventing the Big Three from logging more minutes together, and before the game on Friday against the Heat, he has officially been listed as “questionable”. What is unique about this designation is that he is questionable...with a right hamstring strain.
The previous two DNP’s for Durant were due to right hamstring tightness. I’m starting to feel some de ja vu. The same cadence of events occurred with Devin Booker earlier in the season. It was right calf tightness for a couple of games before morphing into a strain, which ultimately equated to missing five games.
Should we expect the same timeframe for the return of KD? Has the hamstring tweak evolved into something that needs more time to heal? Perhaps it is a minute observation and nothing really of note, but it is something we are continually in tune with and anxiously observing.
The Miami Heat come to town tomorrow night and they are a tough out. We’ll know tomorrow if KD needed rest or if there is a longer road to recovery ahead.