NBA Twitter meatheads love to discuss the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan argument. Who is the GOAT? The fact of the matter is the answer is probably neither. The world’s biggest villain in the NBA is Kevin Durant and boy do people hate him. “How could you join a 73 win Warriors team?” “Kevin Durant is soft!” The fact of the matter is Kevin Durant has made the right decision and it’s helped the public realize something that has really always been the case. Kevin Durant is and has always been the greatest basketball player the world has ever seen.
Don’t Use The Player Mobility Excuse
Oh, I’m sure you’ve already heard this line 1,000 times. “Kevin Durant would have gotten swept if he played with those bums in Cleveland!” “How can you respect a guy who joined a 73 win Warriors team!”. A: Getting mad at where a player wants to play basketball and live his life is dumb. B: Even if you do want to bring up this dumb argument, the fact of the matter is that both Kevin Durant and LeBron James created their own super teams. If my memory best serves me…LeBron did so twice.
Nobody forced LeBron James to sign with his ex-girlfriend, Dan Gilbert. Nobody forced LeBron to run Kyrie Irving out of town by trying to trade him for Chris Paul and then for Paul George to have Kyrie find out about it and create his own leverage. Nobody forced LeBron to demand that the organization overpay JR Smith. Nobody forced LeBron to demand that the organization overpay Triston Thompson. LeBron James created the role as the player executive and he couldn’t be worse at it.
Saying that LeBron’s team stinks isn’t an excuse. He played a vital role in ruining this roster. Even if you do want to pardon him for his part in destroying the roster, he knew Cleveland was a dumpster fire before he got there. He left the sunny beaches of Miami and a franchise run by Pat Riley to join his ex-girlfriend. That sounds like a LeBron problem. The Cavs actually had the highest payroll in the league so I’m not sure where the Warriors are unfair narrative plays into this scenario? LeExcuse tried to pull out all the stops and even tried to claim that he punched a blackboard that limited his effectiveness in the series. Classic LeBron!
Humans hate what they fear. Carmelo Anthony joined the Oklahoma City Thunder and the public opinion was overwhelmingly supportive. Russell Westbrook signed an extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the public opinion was overwhelmingly supportive. Paul George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the public opinion was overwhelmingly supportive. That’s because humans hate what they fear. There was no reason to fear that team because they were a bunch of ball hogs (particularly Westbrook and Anthony). No player has ever had more public disdain in the media for changing teams than Kevin Durant which only proves my point. Kevin Durant joined the Warriors and you didn’t like that because you fear that. Kevin Durant’s presence makes him the most feared player in the league and in my mind probably makes him the best.
Durant Is The Greatest Pure Scoring Threat Ever
Let’s now use the common sense theory. Finish this sentence for me, please. The way to stop Steph Curry is blank? Well, you have to make him drive, beat up on him, and make his uber physical. How about the way to stop Draymond Green is blank? Well, either make him lose his cool or just let him shoot in general. Even a player as great as LeBron you can find an end to that sentence. Everyone can admit, even his greatest supporters, that his shot comes in goes. James even struggles at the free throw line from time to time. Turn James into a jump shooter and that’s your best chance at success. Now finish this sentence here. The way to stop Kevin Durant is blank? There is no answer. Kevin Durant is the best offensive scoring threat the league has ever seen. Stick a small defender on him and he just shoots over him. Stick a bigger defender on him and he just blows right past the guy. The league has never seen a 7-footer who can shoot, dribble, and pas the way Kevin Durant can. Durant fits into any offense in the league because he can space the floor and serve as any function in an offense. Durant consistently shoots over 40 percent from downtown and is really the epitome of efficiency. He never takes a bad shot. Every time the ball leaves his hands you feel like it’s going in the hoop. Use some common sense, If Durant is the best scoring threat ever, how is he not the best player?
Durant Has Outperformed LeBron James In back to back Finals
Side by side comparisons can offer a lot of clarity. I talked about that a lot on my last podcast. Whether it’s a side by comparison for a dumb weight loss ad or going to buy a car in a lot full of them, they offer a lot of clarity. We have now seen a side by side comparison of Durant and James on the court together in back to back Finals. The numbers don’t lie, Durant has been the better player.
Durant 2017 Finals: 176 points on 108 attempts, .698 true shooting percentage, 8 blocks, 11 turnovers
James 2017 Finals: 168 points on 117 attempts, .630 true shooting percentage, 5 blocks, 21 turnovers
Durant 2018 Finals: 115 points on 76 attempts, .654 true shooting percentage, 9 blocks, 9 turnovers
James 2018 Finals: 136 points on 93 attempts, .620 true shooting percentage, 4 blocks, 20 turnovers
I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Durant’s team is 8-1 against James in the Finals the last two years. Anyone can look good and lose. James can dominate the state sheet and lose. Durant actually has to share the ball with other good players and put up numbers. Durant even talked about this exact topic in a recent interview.
Via Yahoo! Sports:
“I feel like it’s easy to be the best player when you don’t have good players around you. I feel like it’s harder to stand out when you have great players around you,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I pride myself on standing out wherever I am. I pride myself on working hard wherever I go. And I feel like these guys embraced me and I feel like I’m a Warrior.”
He has a point. It’s the exact reason he wanted nothing to do with Russell Westbrook. It’s the reason why James, while a great player, has always been overhyped. Durant shines within the function of an offense. LeBron refuses to be coached running an elementary offense where everything runs through James. Of course, his numbers will be inflated. At the end of the day, James is 1-8 against Kevin Durant. Regardless of where LeBron goes next season, there should be no excuse if he can’t beat Kevin Durant next season. You have told me that LeBron is the greatest player on the planet. Now it’s his time to prove it. We’re waiting on you LeBron but the truth is it doesn’t matter, he still won’t beat the world’s best player, Kevin Durant.