Kevin Durant, Not LeBron James, Is the Best Player in the NBA and World

Craig ForrestalContributor IIIFebruary 20, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - OCTOBER 23:  Kevin Durant of Team White talks with Michael Beasley of Team Blue during the US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational charity basketball game October 23, 2011 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  The game benefitted the Single Parents Support Network of Oklahoma City .  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder have some of the best young talent in basketball in Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant. Durant is the fuel that makes this team go. Durant is the most skilled offensive player in the world, and in my opinion the best player in the world.

I am aware that I am making this claim on the heels of his 51-point outburst, but please do not think that this is a claim that I have thought of over night. I have been saying, since the day Durant was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics, that one day Durant will be the best in the NBA. I was wrong. Durant has become the best player in the world. It doesn't matter where Durant is playing. He dominates.

Go back to his days as a prep star. Durant calls the basketball-rich environment of Washington, D.C. home. Durant grew up in a time where the D.C. area produced talent like Michael Beasley, a close friend of Durant's, and Ty Lawson. Durant even teamed up with fellow NBA player Greivis Vazquez in high school, once Durant elected to go to Montrose Christian School. Durant also participated in the 2006 McDonald's High School All-American Game, where he shared game MVP honors with Chase Budinger. Durant was widely considered the second-best prospect in the country behind Greg Oden. 

After high school, Durant took his basketball exploits to the University of Texas. Even though Durant only played at the Austin-based campus for one year, he left a legacy in the realm of college basketball.

Durant won numerous player of the year awards after averaging a double-double for the Longhorns. Durant took his team to a second place finish in the Big 12 and a NCAA tournament birth. Durant and Texas lost in the second round to the USC Trojans.

Shortly after the loss to USC, Durant declared for the NBA Draft. Durant, once again, found himself in a debate of talent with Greg Oden. This time, the debate was centered around which player would be better suited as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Oden eventually went first overall and Durant was the second selection to the Seattle SuperSonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant has never averaged less than 20 points per game in his career and was the NBA scoring champ in 2010 and 2011.

Durant has also been on the cusp of making the United States Olympic squad. He was one of the last cuts for the 2008 Olympic team and has expressed interest in being a member of the 2012 Olympic team. In 2010, Durant played on the U.S. team during the FIBA World Championship and took home the MVP honors of the tournament. In the process of taking home MVP honors, Durant established a few new scoring records for the U.S. team.

Add in the legendary performance Durant had in Rucker Park this summer and you have an individual that has played and dominated at every level. Durant dropped 66 points in The Rucker during the lockout and solidified himself in playground hoops history.

On top of his legendary performance in Harlem, Durant took his game to the Goodman League in Washington D.C. The Goodman League is another elite summer playground league. Durant took control of the league pouring in excellent performances as if they were just ordinary accomplishments. 

Durant is a 6'9" nightmare for the opposition. He can play shooting guard, small forward and even power forward. Durant can score from anywhere on the court, and as soon as he gets off the bus he is in scoring range. Durant is a franchise cornerstone. He has a strong basketball IQ and is not a stage hog either. Durant deflects individual acknowledgment to the team and understands he might be the best player in the world.