Although Kevin Durant did well to start the 2021-22 season, Steve Nash would actually like to see a little more of him on the field.

Ahead of the Nets’ 76th victory at Barclays Center Thursday night, the Brooklyn coach told reporters he was concerned about the amount of minutes Durant spent playing. After scoring 39 minutes in a 114-105 win over Philadelphia, Durant now averages 37.0 minutes per game, second in the NBA behind Raptors guard Fred Vanfleet (38.0).

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“I don’t know we can continue to lean on him the way we live,” Nash said. “It’s not okay.” “I know he enjoys it. I know he enjoys playing at the rate he’s playing and trying to bring his teammates with him and all the responsibility he’s accepted and crushed, basically. It’s been unbelievable.

“But, at the same time, we know that continuing to rely on him in this way is not safe or sustainable. There will be a lot of attention, and we have to find a way to give him breaks.”

Unfortunately for Nash, his rotation is very tight at the moment. The Nets have several players in their health and safety protocols, including James Harden, and are still missing Joe Harris (ankle surgery) and Kyrie Irving (noncompliant with NYC’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate). Durant has been an MVP, averaging 29.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game, so any contest he takes out would likely result in a loss for the Brooklyn side who currently sit at the top of the Eastern rankings with a 21-8 record.

“I love playing. I love being there, and the challenge to win is fun for me,” Durant said after scoring 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against the Sixers. “No matter who’s on the floor, we want to play to win.”

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While it’s clear Durant remains focused on doing whatever is necessary to help his team continue their winning ways, Nash must keep his eyes on the bigger picture. Durant was only removed for two years from an Achilles injury that kept him out for the entire 2019-20 season, and was limited to 35 games during the 2021-22 regular season due to other injuries. The challenge for Nash will be finding comfort for Durant while keeping a competitive team on the ground.

When asked about forcing the Nets to play without major contributors, Nash clarified that it’s about a bit of good news – bad news.

“The question is that we are over the threshold [of the minimum amount of players required to be available for a game], so to speak, which is positive. “At the same time, we’re barely above the threshold, so what’s the toll on our players?” Nash said. Or is it better to have enough to play, but to be short-handed and the burdens and burdens that inflict on these players and know that you will come back as players who could not play or play basketball?

“So, it’s definitely difficult to navigate.”

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