The world is anticipating the return of Kevin Durant, who tore his Achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals.
It's a year-long healing process and Durant is not expected back until next season. But despite the year-long wait, people are still banking on him to re-take his place as one of the best players in the game.
According to one NBA executive, however, Durant might not have an easy path back to stardom.
What league insiders expect: People around the league are hopeful Durant can come back at something approaching the player he was before. But the combination of his age (32 next season) and the severity of the injury makes insiders uncertain he’ll be the same superstar at the start of the season.
“I think Durant will probably have the worst year of his career,” an executive said. “No fault to him, but people don’t come back from Achilles injuries and tear the league up.
“It’s all relative. In the worst year of his career, he might be the 25th-best player in the league, and they might win 50 games. I just don’t see them being a realistic contender barring some moves.”
It's rare that dominant players return at the same level following an Achilles injury. For Durant in particular, who is 31-years-old, it seems redundant to say that it will serve as a major obstacle for him.
With Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets will be among the East's best teams. But it will depend on the play of Durant just how far their ceiling will be.