Kevin Durant made his Phoenix Suns debut against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, and there are some clear ways KD is already changing the Suns.
It was only one game against one of the lesser teams in the Eastern Conference, who lost one of their best players for the season only a few days prior. Thus, we do not want to read too much into Phoenix’s 105-91 win in Durant’s debut. However, there were some clear signs in the game that Durant is a different breed of basketball player and can help take this team to another level.
KD is as good as advertised
Before we go any further about the impact KD has on others, it is important to note that Durant was as good as advertised. Although he only scored 23 points in his 27 minutes, as evident by his nine points in the fourth quarter alone, Durant could score whenever he wanted.
If you look at his first basket for the Suns – a left-handed layup – it was a bucket that oozed the silky smoothness the slim reaper is known for. Likewise, his first three-pointer a minute later demonstrates how Durant will provide an outside-in threat like the Suns have never had.
This is an exciting time to be a Phoenix Suns fan, and likewise, it is an exciting time to be a Phoenix player because KD makes the team better in many ways.
Three stars are enough for the Suns with KD
Overall it was an average shooting performance for the Suns, going 42 of 89, just over 47% from the field. What is hidden in those numbers is that it was a three-man show for Phoenix. Durant, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton combined to go 32 of 51 (63%) from the field. The rest of the Suns’ team only shot 26% on 10 of 38.
In games past, when the bulk of the roster shot that poorly the Suns were destined to lose. However, with Booker, DA, and KD combining for 76 points, the Suns would get away with the poor shooting from everyone else. With three super-efficient players, the Suns should get theirs every night.
Durant will play to the hot hand
Maybe the most beautiful part of Durant’s debut was to see him take a back seat to DBook. The night it belonged to Booker, who dominated the third quarter, scoring 17 of his 37 points. There was never any doubt that KD would get his before the night was over, but likewise, there was no doubt it would not come at the expense of Booker.
You could see Durant calling out plays for Booker and working to clear the floor and create isolation opportunities for the shooting guard. That is not something we’ve seen much from the Suns in the last few seasons. However, with Durant, we will see more of it for both KD and DBook.
Ultimately, Durant is an unselfish superstar whose main goal is winning basketball games, which was plain to see in his debut.
Phoenix has a long way to go to win a Championship, but after one game, it is clear that with KD on the court, this is a different Suns team, where opponents will have to pick their poison because Phoenix can win on off nights now too.