The Kevin Durant Injury And The Monumental Impact It Will Have On The NBA.

The Kevin Durant Injury And The Monumental Impact It Will Have On The NBA.
Fri 14th June 2019

We’ve probably all seen and heard about it by now. After going 3-3 from the three-point line and hitting two free throws, Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles in the first minutes of the 2nd quarter in a Game 5 that will go down in history. The Warriors were able to win a game they desperately needed to win in Toronto and force the sixth game in Oakland. 

Outside of the NBA Finals result, the Kevin Durant injury has some crazy impacts on the NBA that we’re sure will change the future landscape forever. The last three well known players who suffered the same injury has become half the player they used to be.

All you simply need to do is look down the Golden State Warriors bench, DeMarcus Cousin suffered the same injury last year and not only was he out for the year but his mobility on defense is half of what it used to be. While it’s true Cousins still has a chance to recover to become his former self, we’re unsure if he can. Only time will tell for now, but from his recent performances in the NBA Finals, not many teams are knocking on his door to offer him the maximum contract he wants. 

Wesley Matthews suffered the same injury in his final year as a Portland Trailblazer. He was having a tremendous year with his capability to both drive to the hoop, finish and shoot from the three-point line. His recent years with the Mavericks have simply shown that his capability to do that has diminished due to his lack of mobility brought on from the ruptured Achilles that happened in 2015. 

Perhaps the most well-known example of the Achilles injury is the ruptured Achilles that occurred to Kobe Bryant in his game against the Warriors. Bryant was carrying the depleted Lakers team to an improbable playoff push averaging over 30 points a game that season. While he was older, his return to the NBA wasn’t what the fans expected it to be as he failed to become the MVP-type caliber we expected him to be. 

There was a lot of discussion that involved Kevin Durant on the future of the NBA scope and those discussions were one of many, let’s go through what the Durant ruptured Achilles means for the rest of the NBA. 

Free Agency

This will be the one everyone talks about. We all know how big the free agency class of 2020 will be with big names such as Durant, Thompson, Irving, Butler and countless array of other big names that have had their future discussed countless times on sports talk shows. 
Everyone was thinking of the possibility of Zion, Durant and Irving all on the Knicks not too long ago before the NBA Draft Lottery occurred. Some were even dreaming of the hall of fame tandem of LeBron and Durant on the Lakers. Basically, every single team that didn’t have their sights on the championship this season was making sure they have the cap space to be able to sign the biggest free name agent in the market, Kevin Durant. 
The Kyrie Irving and Durant moment that occurred in the NBA All-Star game was on the news cycle for weeks, with media members speculating that they were discussing where they should play together next year to become an unstoppable force. While teams will most likely still offer Durant the max contract, will the other super-star assigned to the team’s max contract slot be willing to sit another year of mediocrity? It’s still unsure at this point how great Kevin Durant will be after the injury after all. 
The New York Knicks is probably the biggest loser in all of this. With the Anthony Davis trade all set up for an impending Kevin Durant arrival, that might not even happen at all. As if Davis comes to the Knicks while Durant sits on the sidelines for a year, he’ll be in the exact same situation he was in earlier. Bottom play-off seeded team or even a draft-lottery team. Davis now of course will most likely look towards greener pastures with the Lakers or Celtics. 
The dominos will fall differently now, with Durant unable to recruit players to his possible new team or vice versa. Say goodbye to a Butler, Durant or Irving, Durant combo in Brooklyn. Durant will have a year on the side-line, and he’ll probably stay with the Warriors for that duration of time sitting on the sideline before he decides his future again in a year or so. 
Load Management

Adam Silver has had some very strong words against load management for a couple of years now. Who can forget the ESPN Warriors vs Spurs headline game in 2016? where it became a memorable game all for the wrong reason. Curry, Thompson and Green as well as Leonard and Aldridge was all rested for the game and we saw Ian Clark go head to head with Patty Mills on a Friday night slot for ESPN. Fans spent hundreds of dollars for the game, and none of them were able to see their favourite players step foot on the court. 
He made sure that wouldn’t happen again with a newly introduced 100k fine for teams who rest healthy players in high profile games. 
The Kevin Durant injury occurred simply due to the fact he was rushed for what was basically an elimination game for the historic team. 
Let’s not forget the ankle injury that occurred to Kawhi Leonard in the NBA Playoff game against the Warriors (funny how the Warriors have been a common thread for all these well known injury debacles huh?).
Despite the San Antonio Spurs medical team clearing him to play, Kawhi sought a second opinion from multiple doctors and argued against playing. He effectively sat out a whole NBA season and was shortly traded to the Raptors soon after. 
Expect this mis-trust occurring more often between NBA Medical Teams and star players. The Isiah Thomas example is probably the most severe one, after pushing himself to play in the NBA Eastern Conference finals despite injuries, he was traded to the Cavaliers the next season. He expected to be awarded with a max contract that would secure him for life, but he’s had nothing close to that offer. He’s no longer the player he once used to be, and his recent veteran minimum with the Denver Nuggets shows that. 
The next time a foot injury occurs to a big named NBA-player, we’ll see the Durant injury have effect. Players will no longer trust the NBA Medical team diagnosis but will seek multiple opinions that could even cause a rift between a team and player. 

Written and produced for by Evan Elphanus

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