While watching a program on one of the big sports networks, I heard them ask the question “Which NBA star is playing the best basketball right now?” I usually brush these sports talk shows off as old athletes past their prime; trying to relive their glory days through those playing the game right now. However; I found this question interesting.
Since I did not have the privilege of sitting at the table with the former athletes. I will take this opportunity to answer their question. On the surface, the answer would be LeBron James. Hands down, no questions asked. I mean why wouldn’t it be? Right? LeBron James is single-handedly the reason why the Cleveland Cavaliers are still relevant in this year’s NBA Playoffs. In his last game, he scored 42 points, snatched down 12 rebounds and was generous to his teammates by giving them 10 assists. Who the hell is playing better than LeBron James right now?
Not so fast LeBron James fans.
In fact, there is someone who an argument can be made for.
That someone is Kevin Wayne Durant.
Durant is averaging 37 Minutes Per Game (LeBron James 40 MPG). Durant is averaging 29.6 Points Per Game in the playoffs. I know LeBron fans will remind me he is averaging 33 PPG, so automatically to them, makes him the best player in these playoffs. Again, not so fast folks. LeBron plays, on average, three to four minutes more than Kevin Durant plays, per game, which should be taken into consideration. Sticking with this theory, he scores more points, per minutes played. When LeBron is playing he is scoring 1.2 points for every minute he plays. Meanwhile; Kevin Durant averages 1.3 PPG per minute played. This means in a shorter period of time Kevin Durant is getting the job done fast and early. Kevin Durant does not have to work as hard as LeBron to put opposing teams away. Granted LeBron’s supporting cast requires him to work harder than he should while Kevin Durant’s supporting cast does the complete opposite. Thus the reason why Kevin Durant is not getting all of the hoopla LeBron James is receiving.
As spectacular as LeBron James has been in these playoffs his supporting cast does not allow him to finish and put teams away. He has had to put in an enormous amount of effort just to come away with last-second lucky fade-away shots. This is why my vote goes to Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant has a team that allows him to play his style of basketball, something LeBron can not do at the moment. Kevin Durant can dictate where the ball goes as well as dictating whether or not the ball ends up back in his hand. All of this is done and he is not under the pressure of having to be “the MAN” like LeBron James is currently under night in and night out. What it all boils down to is, Kevin Durant is currently playing with teammates who can assist him in being great, where as LeBron plays with people who take away from his natural ability to be great. If LeBron James were fortunate enough to have the team Kevin Durant has, he would get my vote for best player in the playoffs but unfortunately, he has a team full of players who are as entertained by his abilities as the average NBA fan.
So my answer to the big networks sports question of the day, is the best NBA player in the playoffs thus far, in my opinion, is Kevin Durant. So wear your crown proudly Mr. Durant, as you have earned it!