After 10 NBA seasons, Kevin Durant is an NBA champion.
Durant, who was named Finals MVP, scored 39 points in Golden State’s 129-120 Game 5 win over Cleveland on Monday. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in the series – all while shooting 55.6 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from three, and 92.7 percent from the foul line.
He was unstoppable.
“Man, he showed pure greatness,” former NBA player Rashad McCants said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “In my eyes, in my opinion, he’s the best player in the league. He’s been the best player in the league for a long time, and he’s finally got the opportunity on the biggest stage to prove it. I’m just excited for him.”
You heard McCants correctly. Durant – not LeBron James – is the best player in basketball.
“I believe so,” McCants said. “Not statistically. Statistically, LeBron James is the king. He is the man. But when it comes down to skill and everything that Kevin Durant brings to the game being 7-foot, being able to take over the game the way he does, there’s no one that can match him.”
If McCants were starting a team, he would “definitely” pick Durant over James.
“The dynamic of the Warriors is all about how they play,” McCants said. “It’s not about who they have. It’s about their culture of how they play, and Kevin Durant fits that culture because he’s always been that unselfish player. I feel like his skill set surpasses LeBron’s at certain points in the game. LeBron has everything. He does everything very, very well. But Kevin Durant, he does everything well as well, but he’s a better shooter. He’s a better creator (and) one-on-one player.”
That said, McCants believes that James will ultimately be viewed as the better player all-time.
“I think (Durant) could be up in the discussion,” McCants said, “but just because LeBron – his pedigree from the moment he stepped on the court and everything he’s done up until this point – it’s hard to not say LeBron’s not top two, top three, top four, and the greatest ever. But Durant, just because of his size and the years he spent without championships, it’s always going to be a debate until he gets two or three or four more.”
James, of course, has three rings, but McCants believes he has a long way to go before he can surpass Michael Jordan in the GOAT discussion. In fact, McCants believes that James is actually chasing Kobe Bryant.
“I consider Kobe Bryant the greatest,” McCants said. “I consider Kobe Bryant the guy who surpassed Michael Jordan. But that’s my opinion. I know a lot of people don’t agree with my opinion, but Kobe Bryant is just one of the guys that I think is the best to ever do it. LeBron has a long way to go to surpass either Michael or Kobe.”
Bryant, McCants said, modeled his game after Michael’s, then added to it.
“He was the student,” McCants said of Bryant. “The student surpassed the master by taking all of his moves and all of his magic and was able to elevate the game to another level in a different era, in a different generation where there was more talent, more offensive firepower, more defensive firepower. A lot of guys didn’t win championships because of Kobe Bryant. He was able to win without Shaquille O’Neal. Michael Jordan never won without Scottie Pippen. So the debate is in when (talking) about the greatest. I’m just talking about skills. Not necessarily stats, but just skill level.”