If Kevin Durant had his way, the Oklahoma City Thunder would buck the NBA trend and toss any small-ball plans right onto the scrap heap. At least, that's what he conveyed when he named his all-time starting five.
According to Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman, KD gave his preferred lineup on ESPN's SportsNation:
"My point guard would be Magic, my two would be Michael Jordan, my three would be Larry Bird, four would probably be Hakeem Olajuwon and my five would be Shaq. We got a big team right there."
No argument here.
Durant showed some real forethought in his answer, as most guys wouldn't think to slot Olajuwon in at the power forward spot. But anyone who watched Dream take care of business with dazzling footwork and incredible quickness knows he would be able to handle even the quickest forwards in the league.
Plus, Olajuwon could do damage from the mid and high post, which would allow O'Neal to take up residence on the block.
Johnson, Jordan and Bird are no-brainers as well, with Magic representing yet another example of Durant's preference for oversized lineups. And in a somewhat ironic twist, the league's best scorer seems to favor players who can really pass the ball.
Johnson, Bird and Olajuwon were three of the best facilitators to ever play their positions. Maybe Durant fancies himself as a sixth man on the club, ready to come in and feed off endless setups from his Hall of Fame teammates.
When asked which player would earn the MVP award on that team, KD didn't hesitate:
"MJ, of course. Best player to ever touch the floor."
Simple as that.
It's awfully early to be looking so far ahead, but there's a chance Durant will someday find himself among the greats he mentioned. It might take another decade or so of similar production, but he is on pace to wind up among the game's elite.
Kevin Durant: youngest ever with a 50-40-90 season (FG%-3-pt FG%-FT%), joins Larry Bird as only players with 28 PPG in a 50-40-90 season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 18, 2013
Of course, it doesn't sound like Durant will be satisfied to merely continue at his current pace. As noted, he thinks he still has work to do to catch up to Jordan.
"Not where I want to be. I can tell you that. I got a long ways to go."
Those all-time greats had better watch out; it sounds like Durant is on a mission to shoot right past them.