NEW YORK — Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, perhaps the two early leading candidates for Most Valuable Player, were named the first NBA Western Conference and Eastern Conference players of the month of the season on Thursday.
Curry, the defending scoring title champ, earned the Western Conference player of the month award for leading the Warriors to an 18-3 record and averaging 27.8 points, 6.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game in October and November.
Curry shot 45.2% from the field and 41.2% from 3-point range during that span. He scored 40-plus points four times, including an NBA-season-high 50 points against the Atlanta Hawks in early November.
Durant led the Nets to an Eastern Conference-best 15-6 record in the first two months of the season and averaged a league-leading 28.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 53.9% shooting from the field.
Durant, who has been named player of the month 15 times in his career, is averaging 35.8 minutes per game. Nets head coach Steve Nash would like to lighten Durant’s load, especially with Durant having played with a right shoulder issue.
“It’s not ideal to have him have such a burden, but I don’t know what options we have other than to play him less and lose more,” Nash said on Tuesday. “He’s a great player, and we’re down a great player [Kyrie Irving] and a really good player [Joe Harris] and a few others. So I don’t know if we have the luxury right now. Hopefully, the season gives us opportunities. We had one recently with the shoulder where he didn’t play for four days, so that lessened the blow and allowed him to kind of regenerate. But he’s going to have a lot of responsibility.”