Every 10 years or so it seems that the NBA sees a passing of the torch from one all time great to the next, with continuous dominant performances serving as an indicator as to who rules the game of basketball at the moment. Right now that switch is occurring, as LeBron James is passing on the mantle of the greatest player alive to Kevin Durant.
On Friday night, as the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Brooklyn Nets, there was an almost inevitable feeling in the air that Durant was going to post a stat line that would make someone playing 2k14 proud. Of course, he did not fail, posting 26 points off of only 12 field goal attempts, to go along with seven assists and three rebounds in a 120-95 victory.
It was not only the fact that Durant put up great stats though, but the way in which he did it. Whenever the Thunder had the ball, everyone inside Barclays Center knew the ball was going to Durant, and they couldn’t stop him from scoring whether they tried a double team, one on one isolation or a zone, and they did try each. It was actually evident on the sidelines that Nets head coach Jason Kidd was not even angry at his players, as they were going up against the new best player on the block.
Don’t get me wrong, James is one of the best basketball players to ever play the game, and is still near the best that he will ever be. Right now though, Durant is simply on another stratosphere from any other basketball player in the world, as his season averages of 31.3 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and 5.2 assists per game indicates. It truly looks as if he is on a one way street to the throne of what seems to be the perennially anointed heir to Michael Jordan as the new greatest player of all time.
When King James and the Durantula were about to face off earlier in the week it appeared as if the elder talent was afraid of the new kid on the block, and once the game began we saw why. James was able to contain Durant for much of the first quarter, but as the game wore on there was simply no way that he, or anyone else on the Miami Heat for that matter, could stop the 25-year-old from scoring. On the night, he scored 33 points, contributed seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and orchestrated a 112-95 beat down that was worse than the score indicated.
As the 2013-14 season draws to a close and the playoffs come, there is no doubting that Durant will continue to cement his spot as the best basketball player alive. At this point the only thing that basketball fans can do is sit back and enjoy the show, without sullying their minds over whether he can ever be greater than Jordan, or what his legacy is going to be 10 years from now.