Trade deadline week last month was a roller coaster, with a bunch of high-profile names changing teams and nearly every competitive team swinging a transaction of some significance, either via trade or on the buyout market.

With a month's worth of post-deadline games in the books and another month left in the regular season, we're checking in on how some of the most consequential additions have worked out so far (stats are through Wednesday's games).


Kevin Durant | Suns

Durant has played only three games for Phoenix since being acquired more than five weeks ago in arguably the biggest midseason trade in NBA history. He was sidelined with a knee sprain when the deal went down, which delayed his debut until after the All-Star break, and then he sprained his ankle when he slipped on a wet spot during warmups before what would've been his fourth game with the team.

Still, despite the limited sample and the fact Durant will likely have played fewer than 10 games as a Sun before the postseason begins, the ease with which he immediately gelled with his new surroundings suggests Phoenix needs to be taken very seriously as a contender once he's healthy. Across those three games (all wins), he averaged 27 points on 81% true shooting, and the Suns posted a cartoonish 130.3 offensive rating with him on the floor – and a 137 rating when he shared the court with Devin Booker, per Cleaning the Glass.

The Suns love to run three-man actions and to utilize both sides of the floor, which makes them ideally suited to incorporating and maximizing Durant – a chameleonic star who's equally deadly with and without the ball. Phoenix's beloved Spain pick-and-rolls can use Durant in any of the three roles – ball-handler, primary screener, or secondary back-screener and popper. Horns sets can similarly feature Durant acting as either ball-handler or elbow screener, with the Suns able to spin off into near-infinite permutations involving him and any two of Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton.

In more simplistic actions, he can simply set up on the wing opposite Booker or Paul, occupying the potential nail helper and allowing his teammate to glide into the paint unimpeded off a high ball screen. You saw in those games how Durant's defense-warping presence unlocked things for Booker in particular, with the star guard scoring 66 points on 75% true shooting in the 67 minutes the two played together.

The Suns also looked elite defensively with Durant on the floor. He offers secondary rim protection the Suns didn’t have behind Ayton before, with the likes of Cam Johnson and Torrey Craig manning the four. Phoenix doesn't mind bringing Ayton up to the level or having him switch out onto ball-handlers (he frequently late-switches out of drop coverage), and he's plenty capable of defending in space. But before Durant’s arrival, having Ayton high up on the floor meant the Suns were vulnerable around the basket. With Durant on the floor, they can afford to be more liberal in doing so, though securing defensive boards could still prove to be an issue because Durant’s still a subpar rebounder for his size.