How Good Is Kevin Durant?

More

Will he surpass Michael Jordan? And does it matter that he's a good guy as well as a good player?

roundtable_durant_post.jpg
AP Images

Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation, Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic), Patrick Hruby (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), and Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic) talk about the Oklahoma City Thunder phenom.


"I hope people watching the game understand that greatness is growing up in front of us right now for 23-year-old Kevin Durant."
–TNT analyst/former NBA great Reggie Miller on Wednesday night

The best offensive player that I've ever seen (with the notable exception of Michael Jordan) was too good for the NBA's best team again on Wednesday. Four years removed from his college days at the University of Texas, Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder overwhelmed the San Antonio Spurs, who had won 20 straight games over 50 days—including the first two games of the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder—before Durant led his team to four straight victories, each more improbable than the last. Wednesday's 107-99 win in Game 6 sent the Thunder to the NBA Finals for the first time since the franchise left Seattle in 2007.

Durant was the catalyst for it all. In Game 4, the NBA scoring champion and MVP runner-up scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to key a come-from-behind win. Durant was equally brilliant in Games 5 and 6, scoring at least 20 points in the second half of each game despite constant defensive attention from the Spurs. The young superstar played all 48 minutes in Game 6, grabbed 14 rebounds and even blocked a Kawhi Leonard dunk attempt at the rim.

But what makes Durant special is his offensive ability. I've never seen a player quite like Durant on offense, and unless some boomer-generation historian wants to compare him to George Gervin, no one else has either. Durant is 6'9" and lanky, with a shooting range of up to 25 feet and a preternatural ability to score. In Game 6, he drained a three-pointer from about five feet behind the three-point line to complete an 18-point comeback for the Thunder—it was a shot that no one else in the world could make consistently, and yet it looked like second nature. Barring injury, Durant could lead the league in scoring every year for the next decade.

By all accounts, Durant is a consummate professional on the court and a gentleman off it, announcing a 2010 contract extension with the Thunder via a simple, exuberant tweet (unlike certain Decision-making superstars). LeBron James may be the best player in the NBA, but Durant is the best for the game.

Where do you stand on Durant, Patrick?

–Jake

Jump to comments
Presented by

Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Fascinating Short Film About the Multiverse

If life is a series of infinite possibilities, what does it mean to be alive?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In