There is no questioning the greatness of Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant. At just 25-years-old, he’s already a four-time NBA scoring champion and a five-time NBA All-Star. During the 2013-14 season, he added to his resume when he surpassed Michael Jordan’s record for most consecutive games of at least 25 points or more with 41.
Besides listing a bunch of Durant’s accomplishments and awards,
the ultimate sign of his greatness comes from the respect of his peers. And you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that has anything bad to say about Durant.
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has already dubbed the Thunder star as “the single most difficult guy to defend” in the NBA.
“I’ve said that for three years,” Rivers said. ” … and even when you defend him well, in most cases, he just missed the shot.“
The only reason why Durant isn’t seen as the pound-for-pound best overall player in the NBA is because of Miami Heat star LeBron James. Many people believe that James is a more complete player who makes everyone around him better. It also helps that he has already won championships, including an NBA finals win over Durant and his Thunder.
James, however, praises Durant whenever the opportunity to do so arises. He believes KD is the most consistent player in the game.
“I would say he’s the most consistent basketball player as far as the MVP this year, man,” James said.
“He’s put up some great numbers.”
As great as Durant has been during his first few seasons in the league, James is the guy with four MVP awards. Durant, however, just won his first MVP.
“I think KD has had one heck of a season,” said James, before Durant was named league MVP in 2014. “And, you know, if he’s rewarded with the MVP, it would be great. It would be awesome for him, for his family. He’s played MVP-type basketball. I don’t really get caught up into what people say. At the end of the day, they have their own votes and they go from there.”
Better Than LeBron?
Although Durant certainly has the potential to become a better player than James, he must improve in a lot of areas first.
KD must first develop more of an aggressive attitude with the basketball in his hands. He has improved in this area, but at times he still decides to pass the basketball in crucial situations when he should keep it himself. He must learn that sometimes being a ball hog isn’t such a bad thing.
Durant must also improve his overall game on defense. At times he is as great defender; at other times he doesn’t get as physical as he needs to. He may never be a muscle-bound basketball player, but he needs to be strong enough to be physical on occasion.
And lastly, KD must learn how to consistently coexist with another star player. This day and age, it is nearly impossible for a superstar to win a championship all by himself. There’s a reason why LeBron James didn’t win a title until he teamed up with Dwyane Wade in Miami.
Durant has Russell Westbrook who is arguably the best point guard in the game. Unfortunately, they struggle to get on the same page at times during the season.
There are times when Durant and Westbrook are clearly the most dominant duo in the entire league. There are other times when they obviously struggle to figure out how they want to share the basketball. This is usually because Durant rarely demands the basketball. He’s typically more comfortable with deferring the ball to Westbrook. Meanwhile, Westbrook has no problem being a ball hog when he feels it’s accepted by his teammates.
While Durant has things he must approve on if he wants to surpass James as the best player in the NBA, he is, without a doubt, an offensive phenomenon. There’s a reason why he scores so many points on a consistent basis. Like Doc Rivers said, KD is the most difficult guy to defend in the league.
Durant is an amazing shooter who benefits from his height and extremely long arms. His wingspan allows him to easily get shots off over almost any defender and it helps him to pick and choose his passing lanes.
Durant may have just won his first MVP award in 2014, but it won’t be his last.
If he continues down the path he’s on, Durant may soon be seen as one of the most difficult players to defend in NBA history.