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You'll hear some of LeBron James' apologists suggest that Kevin Durant is "just a great shooter" as if this game isn't fundamentally about putting a ball in a basket. Even if it were true that KD was first and foremost a shooter, that would hardly be an argument against his talent.
Without shooters, it's a lot harder to win gold medals and NBA titles alike.
Just ask Shane Battier and Mike Miller.
Some will also contend that LeBron deserves this spot on account of the fact that he's the NBA's MVP, that he's supremely well-round and that he does as much for his team as anyone in recent memory.
These arguments are all sound, but they aren't reasons the guy is the best player in the world.
For one thing, James is asked to play with the ball in his hands far more often. Though Durant is a capable playmaker, James is more accustomed to the role. The Oklahoma City Thunder keep the ball in Russell Westbrook's hands whereas LeBron's second-fiddle (Dwyane Wade) spends more time off the ball.
In other words, don't mistake Durant's reduced assist totals for an inability to pass. He's an underrated passer, and the rest of his game is underrated too.
When playing alongside James, albeit during a limited sample size of just eight games, Durant actually came away with three more blocks, two more steals and one more rebound. James may have the superior all-around game in general, but the difference has more to do with hype than substance.
There's a reason the 2012 MVP race was relatively close to the very end.
But, of course, Durant makes his money as a scorer. He is quite simply the very best in the world, and that's saying something when it comes to a game that's decided by scoring points.
It isn't decided by no-look passes or fast-break highlights. It isn't decided by versatility and the convenient ability to guard four positions.
Doug Collins' musings aside, we'd do well to remember that games are won and lost on the basis of whether the ball hits the bottom of the net. None does it better than Durant. His jumper is as pure as they come, and he's got one heck of a quick first step along with an unheralded ability to finish at the rim.
Oh, and he can shoot it from absolutely anywhere. It's no accident that he made 34 of his 65 three-point attempts, a ridiculous 52 percent rate, in his eight Olympic games.
Yes, James got the best of this duel in the NBA Finals, and he had the better all-around season, but Durant has quickly emerged as this league's best player.
If his on-court exploits don't convince you, just remember that his teammates will never have to worry about the guy jumping ship when the going gets tough. He signed his extension with a small market, and you better believe that kind of loyalty will pay dividends in time.
The 27-year-old James may have won the battle, but the 23-year-old Durant will win the war.