The Phoenix Suns are gearing up to wrap their 2023-24 preseason with a face-off against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Acrisure Arena on October 19th. All eyes are on All-Star Kevin Durant, as there's anticipation around whether he will grace the court for this climactic encounter.
The Suns are poised to finish on a high with a commendable preseason record of 3-1. The aspiration is to transition this preseason momentum into their regular season opener next week. Kevin Durant, a vital component of the Suns' arsenal, has appeared in three out of the four preseason contests, impressively averaging 15.6 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in just over 16 minutes per game.
However, the question remains: will Durant participate in the concluding preseason game? The answer could be an exhilarating duel, mainly if LeBron James of the Lakers graces the hardwood. It's worth noting that it would be the first Durant-James showdown since December 2018.
Durant's Suns Transition
Reflecting on Durant's recent history, last season saw him traded mid-way to the Suns from the Brooklyn Nets. An ankle setback meant he could only feature in eight regular-season games. Yet, he maintained an exceptional average of 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Durant's prowess was more pronounced in the playoffs, elevating his stats as he spearheaded Phoenix's charge to the Western Conference semifinals, where they were eventually subdued by the Denver Nuggets, the season's champions.
This season heralds a fresh chapter for the Suns. In conjunction with Devin Booker and newly-acquired Bradley Beal, Durant is touted as the new 'Big 3' Furthermore, expectations are skyrocketing with Frank Vogel, the 2020 NBA champion coach with the Lakers, now helming the Suns.
The Suns' quest for glory will commence against the Golden State Warriors on October 24th. In recent remarks, Durant expressed immense optimism about the potency of Phoenix's new triumvirate. With the offseason addition of Beal from the Washington Wizards in a deal involving NBA stalwart Chris Paul, the Suns’ offence seems poised to wreak havoc.
During a press interaction, Durant elucidated, "With players like Booker and Bradley, defenses will be stretched. They can't double-team all of us, which will unlock massive potential for our offence." Per last season's statistics, Durant averaged 26 points, with Booker and Beal posting impressive figures of 27.8 and 23.2 points, respectively.
If these numbers are any indicator, the 2023-24 NBA season will witness a Phoenix Suns team that promises to be a formidable contender.