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COVID-19 Sidelines Durant

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:
Jan/06/2021

Thanks to the Orlando bubble, the NBA was able to complete the 2019-20 season and pull off a great playoffs with very few issues with COVID-19. There is no bubble now, and it's beginning to make a difference. 

The Nets' Kevin Durant has to quarantine for a week because contact tracing revealed to the NBA that he was exposed to COVID-19. Durant actually had COVID-19 several months ago and is reported to still have the antibodies. 

He also has tested negative following his exposure. But rules are rules, and the NBA does not make exceptions for players that previously were infected. He has to sit. 

Durant Eligible to Return Jan. 12 

It's a packed schedule over the next week for the Nets, and Durant has to sit for a total of four games. Along with missing Tuesday night against the Jazz, Durant will miss a game with the Sixers on Thursday, a trip to Memphis the following night, and a game against the Thunder on Sunday.

According to NBA requirements, assuming Durant continues to test negative, he can return to the lineup on Jan. 12 against the Nuggets. 

Nets Off To Sluggish Start 

The Nets were a hot pick to win the Eastern Conference before the season began in large part because of Durant's return from an Achilles tear. Online betting odds had the Nets at +250 to win the East when the season began before Christmas.

The Nets got off to a good start, beginning 2-0, including a big win at Boston on Christmas Day. But since then, the Nets have been scuffling, going 2-4 in their past six even as Durant has been as good as ever. 

He's averaging 28 points, seven rebounds, and almost five assists per game while shooting 45 percent from three.

Durant played in six of the Nets' first seven games, and he will be rested throughout the season because of his recovered Achilles. But four straight games, especially when the team is struggling to get in rhythm, was definitely not the plan. 

NBA MVP Favorites 

A favorite future wager to place is on the winner of the 2021 NBA MVP. When the odds first came out in October, Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo were tied as the favorites at +600. 

Anthony Davis and LeBron James were right behind them, and then came Stephen Curry and Durant - both players returning from injury.

As of this week, the online sportsbook favorites for MVP are: 

  • Luka Doncic (+400) 

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (+450) 

  • Kevin Durant (+700) 

  • Anthony Davis (+1000) 

  • Stephen Curry (+1000) 

  • Nikola Jokic (+1100) 

  • LeBron James (+1100)

One of the most interesting people not on this board is James Harden, who is only paying +2200. As trade rumors swirl and his final destination remains in flux, bettors are staying away.

Jokic was a trendy preseason pick because of the Nuggets' great run to end last season. But Denver has struggled out of the gate, and even though Jokic is playing up to his level, his team is hurting his MVP case.

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