Kevin Durant isn’t going to suit up for the Nets this season, but he finally has progressed to game situations in practice.
The injured All-Star joined the YES Network broadcast during Wednesday’s 118-79 blowout loss to the Grizzlies and revealed that he has begun playing three-on-three games against his teammates at the team’s practice facility in Brooklyn as the next step in his recovery from Achilles surgery.
“I feel all right. It’s been fun, playing three-on-three with the guys every day,” Durant told Nets play-by-play broadcaster Ian Eagle and analyst Richard Jefferson during the second quarter. “I miss the routine. I’ve missed getting up every day and being one of the guys, going to practice, going to shoot-arounds.
“It’s been difficult, being away from the scene. But I’m about nine months out [from surgery], so I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.”
The Nets are without both of their marquee free-agent signings from last summer — Durant and point guard Kyrie Irving, who also is out for the season following right-shoulder surgery.
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has been “very impressed” with 20-year-old Memphis rookie point guard Ja Morant, who finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft is averaging 17.6 points and 7.0 assists per game in his first 56 games with the Grizzlies.
“Obviously, you look at him, he still looks like he’s playing in college. He’s so young,” Atkinson said. “To have that kind of maturity, the competitor is the first thing that comes out. The speed, athleticism, and then the skill level, especially in the pick-and-roll. Takes guys five, six years to get that feel. And the energy with which he plays with, he’s a tough [player to] guard because he’s moving all the time. I’m really impressed.”
Garrett Temple sat out with a sprained left ankle suffered Tuesday in Boston.