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Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant: Top Players Back in Action in NBA

Stephen Curry (L) and Kevin Durant (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Stephen Curry (L) and Kevin Durant (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Several of the NBA’s best players are preparing to come back after missing most or all of last season.

Several of the NBA’s best players are preparing to come back after missing most or all of last season. The list of returnees includes two former Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award winners and five players who were NBA All-Star selections as recently as two seasons ago.

STEPHEN CURRY, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (5 GP LAST SEASON): The two-time Kia NBA MVP led Golden State to three NBA championships and five consecutive NBA Finals appearances before last season’s extended absence (he returned in March and played one game before the season was paused). Curry needs five three-pointers to reach 2,500 for his career and is 66 threes from passing Reggie Miller for the second most in NBA history. He is also poised to become the Warriors’ franchise leader in both points and assists this season.

KEVIN DURANT, BROOKLYN NETS (0 GP): The 10-time NBA AllStar and 2013-14 Kia NBA MVP is set for his first action since the 2019 NBA Finals. In three seasons with Golden State, Durant won two Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP awards and reached the NBA Finals three times. A four-time scoring champion, Durant has the sixth-highest scoring average in NBA history (27.0 ppg).

BLAKE GRIFFIN, DETROIT PISTONS (18 GP): In 2018-19 (his first full season with Detroit), Griffin averaged a career-high 24.5 points, was named an NBA All-Star for the sixth time and earned All-NBA Third Team honors. He also made a career-high 189 three-pointers.

KYRIE IRVING, BROOKLYN NETS (20 GP): Irving made a splash with 50 points in his first game as a Net, the highest-scoring debut in NBA history. He averaged 27.4 points in 20 games, which would have been a career high over a full season. Before last season, Irving had been named an NBA All-Star six times in a seven-year span.

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS, MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (35 GP): Towns actually played more than half of Minnesota’s games last season, but he also had two extended absences, one of which sidelined him for the final 12 games. He averaged 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists and shot 41.2 percent from three-point range in 35 games. Towns was an NBA All-Star selection in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

JOHN WALL, WASHINGTON WIZARDS (0 GP): Wall is poised to return two years after his last regular-season NBA game (Dec. 26, 2018). He made five consecutive NBA All-Star teams from 2014-18, a stretch during which he averaged at least 10.0 assists three times. This will be Wall’s 10th playing season with the Wizards, who selected him with the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

first published:December 18, 2020, 11:49 IST