The top two players of the last decade and change has always been LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but LeBron was widely considered the better player throughout that stretch of time.
However, Durant has finally broken through and claimed the top ranking in ESPN’s yearly player rankings that generally drops prior to the season.
For what it’s worth, Vince Carter also considers Durant to be the best player in the league right now, as Carter got a close up look at what KD did during Team USA’s recent Olympic run.
“You could go KD. You could go LeBron,” Carter said. “I’ve watched KD and what he did at the Olympics. Right now, he is ready to take over the league.”
Team USA also didn’t have the same firepower that they usually possess on the world stage, and other international teams tend to have the continuity that Team USA isn’t quite afforded.
Not only is Durant four years younger than the four-time MVP, but he has a skillset that ages very well.
Kevin Durant doesn’t need to rely on a burst of speed or other superhuman qualities to get his on a nightly basis, rather, all he needs to do is stick to the fundamentals of scoring the ball to be the deadly weapon that he is on a nightly basis.
He can get his shot off just about anywhere on the court, and it doesn’t matter which defender is on him. All he needs to do is use his near 7-foot frame to extend over similar sized defenders and the ball will find its way through the hoop.
When Durant is in his ideal spot, it almost feels automatic that the shot will go down for him. He just makes it look too easy out there.
The scary part about all of this is that Durant still has that burst of speed and lateral quickness that has made him dangerous throughout his NBA career, and it doesn’t appear he’ll lose that ability anytime soon.
Defensively, Kevin Durant has proven to be a huge asset as well, as he uses his long, outstretched arms to contest shots at the rim or make shooters uncomfortable out on the wings.
Both players could end up facing off in the Finals
The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers are both set up as heavy favorites to make the Finals next season, as the Lakers added Russell Westbrook to the LeBron-Anthony Davis duo.
Meanwhile, the Nets possess a “Big Three” of their own with James Harden and Kyrie Irving alongside KD.
Last season, you could’ve made the case that the Nets would be defending champions right now if it wasn’t for Irving and Harden’s injuries.
However, injuries are unfortunately a part of the game, and the Milwaukee Bucks capitalized to beat them in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
If health can favor both teams deep into next season, then there’s no reason why we can’t see these teams face off on the game’s biggest stage next June.
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