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Is Kevin Durant already an all-time great?

3-27-20


Kevin Durant is widely considered one of the best basketball players in the world. He is a two-time NBA finals MVP, two-time NBA champion, has won an MVP award, has led the NBA in scoring four times, and has been named to six all NBA first teams. Should Durant already be considered one of the best NBA players ever because of everything he’s accomplished?


Durant has been amongst the league’s best players in each of his healthy seasons since the 2009-2010 campaign. It was then when he became the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring. Durant has been dominant in every season since his first scoring title excluding injury-riddled 2014-2015 and 2019-2020 seasons. How much longer does Durant have to play at a high level to be considered an all-time great?

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are universally recognized as two of the five best basketball players of all time. Bird played in 897 career games while Magic Johnson played in 906 career games. Kevin Durant has played in 849 career games and will surpass both Johnson and Bird in career games played in his next healthy season. If fans of the game can reminisce about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s timeframe to be considered all-time greats, then it isn’t too early to consider Durant one as well.

Lebron James is internationally respected as a top-two player of all time behind only Michael Jordan. Many people even consider the Lakers superstar as the best player the league has ever seen. In 39.5 minutes per game, Lebron averaged 27.5 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game and 6.9 assists per game while shooting 50% from the field, 34% from three and 75% from the free-throw line in his first 842 career games, which is about the number of career games Kevin Durant has played in. In 36.9 minutes per game, Durant has averaged 27 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, 4.1 assists per game while shooting 49% from the field, 38% from three and 88% from the free-throw line in 849 career games. Durant has identical statistics to Lebron who many people believe is one of the two greatest basketball players of all time.

Scoring is the most important ability for a player to have. It’s not a coincidence that many view Michael Jordan, the all-time leader in points per game the greatest player of all time. Additionally, the players who have been considered the best in the world have always been able to score the ball at a high level. Kevin Durant is one of the best scorers the NBA has ever seen. He’s almost seven feet tall, can handle the ball like an elite point guard, and is able to consistently score from every area on the court. Unlike some other players, Kevin Durant isn’t just a scorer. For his career, he averages 7.1 rebounds per game, which is excellent for a small forward and has improved his abilities as a passer and defensive player. Since Kevin Durant is one of the scorers of all time, shouldn’t he be considered one of the best players of all time?

Kevin Durant is one of the best basketball players of all time. Deciding to join the Golden State Warriors may hurt his legacy to some but at the end of the day, his decision didn’t magically make him a worse player or change his abilities on the court. Durants’ amazing skill set and all he's accomplished makes him an all-time great player.

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