The NBA’s new health and safety protocols have struck again.
After exposing himself to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant must self-quarantine for seven days, a stretch that will force him to miss Brooklyn’s next four games, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews.
Durant is in line to miss Tuesday’s matchup with the Utah Jazz, but will also miss a trio of games against the Philadelphia 76ers (Thursday), Memphis Grizzlies (Friday), and Oklahoma City Thunder (Sunday) to finish off the week. If the Durantula tests negative through his seven-day quarantine, he will be eligible to return to his team for a January 12th showdown with the Denver Nuggets.
This isn’t exactly an ideal time for Brooklyn’s best player to have to quarantine: the team is coming off of their fourth loss in their last five games. At the end of that most recent loss—to the struggling Washington Wizards no less—both Durant and Kyrie Irving missed open, game-winning looks in the closing seconds.
Because of the fact that Durant contracted COVID-19 way back in May, he is much less likely to contract the virus again thanks to coronavirus antibodies that he continues to register during his regular tests. The Nets must be encouraged by that and the fact that the Washington, D.C. native also tested negative three separate times in recent days, according to ESPN’s sources.
While it is generally believed that those who have antibodies are better able to fight against the virus, the NBA’s health and safety protocols do not differentiate between players with and without antibodies, which is why the former Texas Longhorn must self-quarantine for seven days despite the presence of antibodies.
We would suggest holding off any Brooklyn-to-win wagers until we can get a better idea of how the team will perform without the Durantula out there. They are sitting at +165 odds underdogs to the Jazz on 22Bet as of this writing, and attractive as those odds may seem, a wait-and-see approach is much smarter.
Do not avoid Brooklyn altogether, however, because a big player like Durant being out opens the door for others to overachieve in his absence. Kyrie Irving over scoring props should be very profitable for the next week—including +100 odds on Kyrie to score 30+ against Utah on 22Bet. Don’t be surprised to see Irving drop 50 in one of these four Durant-less games.
Another guy to consider would be youngster Caris LeVert, who is likely to step into the starting lineup for Durant and soak up most of his minutes and scoring opportunities over this next week. Hold off against Utah to see how he plays with the added responsibility, but we expect him to take the extra work in stride and put up impressive numbers this weekend.