Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash hailed star Kevin Durant, who made his first appearance in 552 days. (More Sports News)
Durant swapped the Golden State Warriors for the Nets via free agency ahead of the 2019-20 season, but he sat out the entire campaign due to an Achilles injury suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals.
Nets fans got their first glimpse of Durant in a Brooklyn uniform after the two-time Finals MVP made his preseason debut in Sunday's 119-114 win over the Washington Wizards.
Durant – playing for the first time since June last year – posted 15 points on five-of-12 shooting from the field in 24 minutes against the Wizards, who were without star recruit Russell Westbrook.
S âÂÂªï¸ÂÂ E âÂÂªï¸ÂÂ V âÂÂªï¸ÂÂ E âÂÂªï¸ÂÂ N pic.twitter.com/4OQIVo6xlG— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 13, 2020
Former MVP Durant also had three rebounds, three assists and two blocks, earning praise from first-year Nets coach Nash.
"After such an extensive layoff, he was very good and close to being incredible," Nash said.
"He's going to keep building and being comfortable with that type of injury. It's kind of remarkable he's at the level he's at."
"It's one thing to come back," Nash continued. "It's another thing to come back and look as explosive and mobile and skilful as he has after a long layoff. I'm incredibly proud of him."
It was the first time star duo Durant and Kyrie Irving shared the court together for the Nets, after the latter arrived from the Boston Celtics ahead of the 2019-20 season.
Irving had 18 points on seven-of-nine shooting and two-of-three from three-point range, to go with four assists.
Nash – appointed by the Nets to replace Kenny Atkinson following another first-round exit in the playoffs – added: "That's one of the perks of this position, is you get to coach two incredible players.
"Ky was super sharp and Kevin, after such an extensive layoff was very good and close to being incredible."