The NBA is loaded with great talent that is spread among the 30 organizations in the league. Fans, writers and analysts alike are constantly debating about just how good our favorite superstars are. The issue is a little less debatable when the players themselves jump in on the action, because they are the ones who get to go head-to-head with that same talent that we as fans can only speak on.
LeBron James recently praised Kevin Durant, saying that he is impossible to guard and there is not anyone in the NBA who can defend him one-on-one — including James himself. If this were the 1990s or any era prior, James would be doing everything in his power to discourage Durant heading into their matchup on Wednesday night. Instead, today’s league is played amongst friends and players who respect each other. I don’t have anything against LeBron’s comments, but I get the feeling he’s giving himself room for error in case Durant goes off on him when the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat meet for the first time this season. Here are some of the quotes directly made by James regarding Durant’s abilities:
“Individually, he can’t be stopped by any 1-on-1 player”, James said. “There’s nobody that can guard him 1-on-1.”
“I like going against the best,” James said. “And he’s definitely right up there. He is a great guy to compete against, man. I wish I could play against him every night because he brings that competitive nature out of you.”
Even with his comments, James knows he still has a slight edge on Durant when you compare their careers thus far. James does have more mileage, so it is difficult to take anything away from Durant; instead, it is best to focus on James’ long list of accomplishments. Those feats include four MVP Awards and two NBA Championships. As far as pure skill, Durant is beginning to be seen as the more valuable asset to his team. LeBron is better defensively than KD, but Durant’s defensive stats — including steals, blocks and rebounds — are superior. This makes the debate about their defense closer than most would make it.
Regardless of what anyone thinks, even the players themselves, they have a chance to prove whatever it is they need to prove in their matchup on Wednesday night. Not much will come from the game besides who will praised more for the remainder of the week. Win or lose, neither team will be affected in the long run. It is one of those games that are more enjoyable for fans because there isn’t much at stake. Both Durant and James should be relaxed and ready to put on a show for the fans while still trying their best to lead their team to victory. All of the speculation will end for now but only after both of these spectacular players put forth their best effort to out-duel the other.