What Kevin Durant’s injury means for the Clippers


There’s not many things worse than waking up to injury.

To be specific, the injury of the reigning 2013-14 NBA Most Valuable Player in Kevin Durant. According to the Thunder GM Sam Presti, Durant has suffered a Jones fracture — or foot injury — and is required surgery. A 6-8 weeks return time-frame has been thrown out, but at this point that’s the best-case scenario for Durant.

Regardless of the timeframe, a two-month window without Durant reigning terror night-in and night-out opens things up for the Clippers.

First and foremost, it’s extremely unlikely Durant is available on opening night when the Thunder and Clippers go at it. Considering Durant had his way with the Clippers last season 32.5 points, 4.5 assists, 8.0 rebounds in the regular season; 33.2 points, 5.3 assists, 9.5 rebounds in the postseason), the odds of the Clippers starting their season off with a victory increase ten-fold. Unfortunately, after last years season-opening debacle in which they loss to a Kobe Bryant-less Lakers team, there are no guarantees to be made.

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  • Looking deeper in Durant’s loss, postseason implications could be on the line here.

    There’s a chance that Russell Westbrook can keep the Thunder afloat in a similar manner that Durant did in Westbrook’s absence last season, but with Reggie Jackson in the picture, the Thunder are just better built to sustain some sort of resemblance to their usual selves with KD in and Russ out. With Russ in and KD out, the lack of wing depth becomes very apparent in OKC and without threats on the wing, space for Westbrook to attack tightens up.

    Enter the Clippers who finished two games behind the Thunder last season. It’s fair to assume the loss of Durant — especially a Durant who went on a historic tear — is worth that many wins. If the Clippers can keep up their efforts from last season, improving if health plays in their favor this season, the number two seed is all but theres.

    Would homecourt advantage matter against OKC if Durant is back and fully healthy come playoff time? If last year was a representative of this notion, it might not (Clippers lost Game 6 at home vs. OKC), but it’s better to be comfortable at home in a win-or-go-home game than have to enter the college atmosphere that is Chesapeake Energy Arena.

    If by some chance the Clippers are able to topple the entire West, they could possibly avoid having to see San Antonio or Oklahoma City Thunder until the Western Conference finals.


    In the underrated storyline section, the 2014-15 NBA MVP just got a bit more interesting. If Durant misses close to two months, it’ll be unlikely he finishes in the top-2 MVP votes this season, meaning his spot is void. With no Durant, LeBron James is the clear favorite, but if the Cavaliers struggle, the door opens for the two Clippers stars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Last season, Griffin finished top-5 in MVP voting for the first time. Though Paul’s career, he’s been top-5 in MVP voting four times in nine years, all coming post-2008. Does a 60-win season guarantee a MVP for either? Depends on how good LeBron is, but the possibility for a Clippers player to win a MVP for the first time since Bob McAdoo just increased ten-fold.

    With any injury, you hope for a speedy recovery, so the same applies to Durant, but if the Clippers want things to play in their favor come playoff time, they’ll need to capitalize off his absence, no matter how long he’s away.

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