One of the most popular debates among NBA fans is "who is the best player in the NBA?"
Many say LeBron James, and it is very tough to argue against that, but so far this season, LeBron has some competition for that crown, and that is coming from Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Before we begin to say who is better than the other, how do we define the term "best player in the game?" Is the best player the guy who scores the most? And does most of his team's scoring? If you think that, then Carmelo Anthony is by far the best player in the NBA. I think most of us find that last statement very humorous.
Or is it the guy that just wins the most championships? If you believe in that theory, then by your standards, Bill Russell is without a doubt the best player ever to touch a basketball, and Robert Horry is better than Michael Jordan.
I believe the definition of being the "best player in the game" is a lot more than just scoring, but its all of that combined.
We all know how well-rounded of a player LeBron James is, he can basically do everything, except keep his hair, but let's not get into that. He gets a good balance of points, rebounds, assists, and at times it seems he takes turns getting them. He's probably like "Ok I have enough rebounds, let's try to get some assists."
Not only that, but during much of last year's Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers, LeBron was guarding Indiana Pacers big man David West. Then the very next series, he's guarding San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker.
How many players in the NBA can effectively guard David West and Parker?
During Game 1 of last year's NBA Finals, if you watch the entire game with no knowledge of how many points, rebounds or assists LeBron had at the end of the game, it seemed as if he had an off game, and was the reason for the Game 1 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. In case you don't remember, LeBron James' final stat-line of that game was 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. If that is an "off game" I would love to see what an "on game" is.
LeBron fits my definition of being the best player in the game. He can still be effective if he can't score, he can get his teammates involved, and often looks to pass rather than shoot, which is a very rare trait for an NBA superstar.
Now, for the second player, Kevin Durant often gets the "Carmelo" name-tag, which basically means all he can do is score, and get some rebounds. That statement about Durant couldn't be farther from the truth.
In fact, Durant is actually averaging more rebounds per game this season than LeBron James. KD is currently averaging 31 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. While James is averaging 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
By just glancing at the stats, it appears that Durant is superior to LeBron, but I stil don't believe that to be the case.
Let's go back to a few years ago, when LeBron James had just left the Cleveland Cavaliers, and was on his way to South Beach. Almost all of us can agree that at that time LeBron was one of the best, if not the best player in the NBA at that time.
Although he was a great player then, there was something holding him back from being the overwhelming best player in the league. What was holding him back?
Not just losing, but losing in the playoffs. Not coming through in the clutch.
From "quitting" on the Cavaliers during the playoffs, to "disappearing" in the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron has definitely seen his ups and downs.
Kevin Durant hasn't been accused of disappearing or quitting on his team yet, (which I don't believe LeBron quit on the Cavs by the way). But at the same time, he hasn't won anything yet.
Part of being the best player in the game is not only taking your team to the NBA Finals, but to win it. Kevin Durant is currently 0 for 1. In his defense, LeBron started out 0 for 2, winning his first ring in his third finals series, which ironically was against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In conclusion, despite all of the crazy numbers Durant is putting up, I still believe LeBron James is the best player in the universe. This might change though, if the Thunder go on to win the championship this season.
Disagree? Let your voice be heard in the comment section below.