These 2012 playoffs have been begging NBA fans everywhere to debate this topic, who would you take: KD35 or King James? Both players are currently at the top of the basketball world. But you need to look at what these two players have been able to do this year, it is mind blowing. Every night you know you are going to get some sort of show. Whether it is KD’s scoring ability or the athletic freakiness of LBJ. They both bring different things to the table and both of them have different abilities that they can unleash on anyone at anytime. But, what makes one of them better than the other? Wins? Points? How clutch they may be? (which may take LeBron right out of it) or any other statistical category? I believe it comes down to who you would want on draft day if you were able to start a fantasy franchise.
Picture this: You have just purchased a team that will be located in Boise, Idaho, pretty much the middle of nowhere, where they might not even have basketball courts, but that’s besides the point. You now have control of an NBA franchise in Boise and you have been allowed to take any player you want from any team to become your franchise cornerstone. As you look throughout the entire league you know it boils down to two players, LeBron James or Kevin Durant. As the owner of the Cosmo Kramers (a little Seinfeld reference) you have the ability to take anyone. As LBJ and KD await to see who is picked in the infamous “Green Room”, you sit in your nice comfy chair and take a look at the reasons why you should take either one of these two.
Kevin Durant has been excellent this year. At age 23, he has been able to raise his game to an extremely high level and has not yet reached his potential ceiling. With as young as Durant is, he has all the intangibles that make him a leader. His calm and cool personality make him come off as less competitive, which couldn’t be any farther from the truth. This man is a cold-blooded killer, who can score 10 points on you at any second (Ask the Spurs after he scored 18 straight points in Game 4). What truly makes Durant special are not his numbers on the court but just how much he cares about winning. When your best player cares the most, plays the hardest, works the hardest, pulls for everyone else and doesn’t care about his own numbers, you’re always going to be in good shape. Durant has become the youngest scoring title winner, the next youngest was guess who, Kevin Durant. He has the ability to lead your team in so many ways. He can score, defend, rebound and be unselfish with the ball. I’m not the only one who is saying these things either, the NBA Coach of the Year, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, volunteered the following about Durant: “He’s arguably the greatest player in the world.” He’s pure on a Larry Bird level, just ridiculous. Durant is. LeBron’s not. Durant has averaged 28 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists a game this year, shooting the peach at a 50% clip.
LeBron James gives you something that not many players can, and that’s an all-around game. LeBron has the abilities to score, rebound, pass and defend the opposing teams best player. He gives coaches the ability to place him anywhere on the floor and give him any assignment. LeBron has done just about everything you can do in an NBA career and he is only 27 years of age. He has won 3 MVP’s, Rookie of the Year, and has been an All-NBA and All-Star selection every year since 2005. Those accolades are not what makes him great though, it is the way he plays the game. Like Jordan, LeBron has the ability to affect the game on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he can guard any position, we have been able to see this in the series he is currently in with the Celtics. He has guarded Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and even Kevin Garnett, and he was successful guarding all three. He rebounds the ball extremely well, using his athleticism and size to go up and grab boards at their highest point. LeBron is a physical marvel when you look at him. He is a human freight train when he drives to the bucket, no one is going to step in front of the Hulk. LeBron has averaged 27.1 points per a game, just a smidgen under Durant’s 28, with 7.9 boards and 6 assists.
Factually speaking, Durant is a better shooter than LeBron, and statistically speaking he’s a better scorer. He’s a similar rebounder. He doesn’t defend or create at LeBron’s level, but Durant is gaining ground in both spots. Given all that, LeBron’s better, right? It’s close, but he’s better. LeBron’s not just the MVP, though he is, but he’s also the guy you’d take if you were asked, “Who would you build a team around, LeBron or Durant?” I just don’t know if it is that easy of an answer. Durant is more clutch than LeBron. Durant’s a closer, a finisher. While the world was waiting for LeBron to inherit from Kobe Bryant the title of Game’s Best Closer, Durant snuck up and took it. The title’s gone. It doesn’t belong to Kobe anymore, and it might never belong to LeBron. Not while Durant’s around, closing out games and getting better at it. Durant also takes the cake when we move to the mind’s of both players. Mentally Durant is more tough and has the ability to stay composed under pressure. James looks like a 6 year old girl who doesn’t know where her doll is at the end of games. And that makes up a huge difference. That can make you a winner or a loser. We have all watched both of these players play and we know what each of them is.
So you give me the pick of the entire league and you want me to start a team from scratch, I know who I’m taking. As I walk my white envelope up to NBA Commissioner David Stern, I know I have made the right choice. Give me Kevin Durant with my first pick. I’d like to have LeBron, sure. I’d like to have the most talented all-around player in the game.
But I’d rather win.
So with the 1st pick in the new NBA Expansion Draft, the Cosmo Kramers select… Kevin Durant, Small Forward from the Oklahoma City Thunder.