Kevin Durant Thrives in Phoenix Suns Debut

Kevin Durant made his long-awaited debut with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night in Charlotte, North Carolina.[0] After missing the past seven weeks with a right MCL sprain, Durant returned to the court with a flourish, contributing 23 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 27 minutes of action. The Suns were +13 with Durant on the floor in their 105-91 win over the Hornets.[1]

Durant was acquired by the Suns in a blockbuster trade just ahead of the February 9th deadline.[2] With Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton already in Phoenix, the Suns have sky-high expectations and those expectations begin now.[3]

Booker led all scorers in the game with 37 points on 15-for-26 shooting from the floor to go with six rebounds and seven assists.[4] Ayton had a double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds while Durant put up 23 points and six rebounds in his Suns debut.

Durant was on a minutes restriction and will continue to be for at least another week, according to Phoenix head coach Monty Williams.[5] He spoke at length following Tuesday’s practice in regards to his health, his mindset leading up to the game, and the mounting pressure.[2]

“You feel it at the hotel when there’s people lined up outside. You feel it in the gym. I think since I’ve been in Phoenix, I’ve felt it just build because of the improvements that the guys have made on the floor,” Williams said.[6]

Durant admitted to being a bit nervous for his debut, but looked like his old self out on the court.[7] He was masterful in transition, displaying his usual smooth jump shot and ability to get to the rim. He also showed great defensive play, getting out on the perimeter to contest shooters and sinking down to protect the paint.[8]

The Suns should be improved offensively in the future.[9] Booker and Paul have missed a combined 48 games due to injuries, but with a healthy Paul, Booker, and Durant they will likely become one of the more efficient offenses in the league.[3]

Durant’s first game back was a success, as he showed flashes of the extraordinary player he has been throughout his career. He will continue to be on a minutes restriction for the next few weeks, but the Suns have to be thrilled with what they saw from their new star.

0. “Kevin Durant's Phoenix Suns debut reaction: NBA Twitter left in awe” The Arizona Republic, 2 Mar. 2023,

1. “Kevin Durant gives strong 1st impression to Suns with 23 points in win” Arizona Sports, 2 Mar. 2023,

2. “Preview: Charlotte Hornets host Phoenix Suns with Kevin Durant debut” At The Hive, 1 Mar. 2023,

3. “Suns vs Hornets NBA Odds, Picks and Predictions Tonight” Covers, 1 Mar. 2023,

4. “NBA roundup: Suns stop Hornets in Durant's debut with Phoenix” Press Herald, 2 Mar. 2023,

5. “5 takeaways from Kevin Durant's triumphant debut with Suns”, 2 Mar. 2023,

6. “Kevin Durant impresses in Phoenix Suns debut under greater attention” The Athletic, 2 Mar. 2023,

7. “A nervous Kevin Durant debuts for Phoenix in Charlotte. It didn’t go well for Hornets” Charlotte Observer, 2 Mar. 2023,

8. “WATCH: Kevin Durant announces Suns arrival with masterful two-way sequence vs. Hornets” CBS Sports, 2 Mar. 2023,

9. “Booker on Kevin Durant: “One of us will always be on the floor at all times”” Bright Side Of The Sun, 2 Mar. 2023,

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