Kevin Durant Playing Big Minutes 'Not Safe or Sustainable,' Nets' Steve Nash Says

Doric SamDecember 17, 2021

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash reacts to a call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in New York. The Nets won 131-129 in overtime. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has been playing big minutes this season, but head coach Steve Nash admitted the team can't continue to rely on him so heavily.

Nash told reporters before Brooklyn's game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday that it "doesn't feel right" for Durant to be carrying such a heavy load for the Nets.

"I know he's enjoying playing at the rate he's playing at and trying to bring his teammates along with him and all the responsibility that he's accepted and crushed, basically," Nash said. "It's just been incredible. But, at the same time, it's not safe or sustainable to lean on him like that."

Nash added, "There's gonna be a lot of consideration and we'll have to figure out ways to give him breaks."

It was difficult to find breaks for Durant on Thursday as the Nets have a short-handed roster due to health and safety protocols. He played 39 minutes and led Brooklyn with 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a 114-105 win.

The last time Durant played less than 37 minutes in a game was on Nov. 16 in a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors. He's played over 40 minutes five times since then, including a season-high 48 minutes in Tuesday's overtime win over the Toronto Raptors.

Durant's average of 36.9 minutes is fourth in the NBA behind only Raptors teammates Fred Van Vleet and OG Anunoby and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. It's his highest average since his 2013-14 MVP season in which he played 38.5 minutes and scored 32 points per game.

Durant, for his part, has not complained about his playing time. After a win over the New York Knicks on Nov. 30, he said he enjoys being on the floor for as long as he can.

"I'm a basketball player; I enjoy to play; I want to play 48 minutes," Durant said. "That's just what it is."

The Nets will have a day to rest before hosting the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.