Kevin Durant’s Suns’ debut could not have gone much better. They looked like a team who should strike fear in the hearts of every other team in the West.
There are a lot of caveats out of the Suns’ wire-to-wire 105-91 win over the Hornets: it’s just one game; the Hornets are not very good and now are without LaMelo Ball for the rest of the season; Durant is on a minutes restriction and is working his way back into shape.
However, so many things looked good for Phoenix:
• Kevin Durant looked like he never left, scoring 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting. His shot is still effortless.
• Devin Booker scored 37 points and seemed to have more room to operate.
• Chris Paul, who has struggled with his shot much of this season and was 1-of-8 Wednesday, was able to focus on playmaking and had 11 assists, playing floor general.
• Deandre Ayton played his role with 16 points and 16 rebounds.
• It’s just one game, but you could see how Durant and Booker are built for playoffs because they can get off a shot without a big setting a pick and bringing a second defender into the picture.
• Durant and Booker combined were 10-of-18 from the midrange (outside the paint and inside the arc). Their ability to knock down those shots is another reason the Suns can be a dangerous playoff team.
Looking ahead to the postseason, Suns coach Monty Williams also talked about Durant as a solid rim protector, which means they could allow Ayton to be more aggressive out high on pick-and-rolls knowing there is a quality backstop if needed.
Kelly Oubre Jr. stepped up with 26 points for Charlotte, while Terry Rozier added 20.
But this night was about Kevin Durant, and he fit in smoothly with this Suns roster. It’s just one game in a soft landing spot, but it’s as good a debut as KD and Phoenix could hope for.
Kevin Durant drops 23, looks like seamless fit in Suns debut originally appeared on NBCSports.com