Kevin Durant says NBA games are all that matter for league growth

Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets believes the NBA is fine the way it is, but the veteran forward thinks attracting casual fans to the game is just as important as keeping existing fans satisfied as well.

“When it comes to people and it comes to how they consume things — everything looks like it’s doing incredible right now,” the 12-time All-Star told ESPN’s Nick Friedell during an interview.

According to various NBA betting sites, Kevin Durant has the fifth-best odds to win MVP this season. Check out which sportsbooks are showing better odds for Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Jayson Tatum, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“So adding free agency, summer league, regular season, all that stuff, I think that’s just another avenue for people to be engaged in the game,” added Kevin Durant.

“Free agency is a huge deal — and they want to see where their favorite players are going, or their favorite teams are getting, because they see guys starting to move. So it’s important, but the games are the only thing that really matters, to be honest.”

Kevin Durant believes die-hard NBA fans will always watch games during the regular season, casual fans not so much

Nonetheless, while millions of fans still watch NBA games during the regular season, the league lost the ratings battle against the NFL on Christmas. This was expected. Football is almost a religion in the United States. The NBA’s five-game Christmas Day slate averaged a 1.8 rating and 4.31 million viewers across ABC and ESPN channels.

This was an improvement over the league’s 1.7 rating and 4.08 million views from last year. Though, the NFL’s average audience was five times larger than the NBA’s on Christmas. An average of 4.318 million fans tuned in to watch professional basketball games, whereas 21.88 million people watched at least one game of the NFL’s tripleheader.

Of course, the most viewed NBA game this past Christmas was between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. A whopping 6.03 million fans tuned in to watch the league’s top Eastern Conference contenders square off. Kevin Durant and the Nets didn’t play this day.

“The NBA has been around for so long, the regular season — for real basketball fans, they enjoy the regular season for [what it is],” added Kevin Durant. “But our league is full of casual people who enjoy basketball, but it’s not really.

“They don’t care for it as much. You know what I’m saying? They like to watch it as a hobby, but it’s not. There’s some people who are real fans of the game, you know what I’m saying?”

Keep in mind, each NFL team plays only 17 games during the regular season. Every single football game is important in the grand scheme of things. While regular season games also matter for NBA teams, the league’s 82-game season leaves room for error.

For that reason, sports fans might be more interested in watching NFL and college football games over NBA matchups in the winter and fall months. Come playoff time, the NBA still receives millions of viewers, especially on the international level. So, Kevin Durant makes a logical point. Regular fans just want to be entertained.

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