LeBron James better grab his pitchfork, there are some nonbelievers he must tend to.
Considered the unchallenged greatest player on the planet, James has found himself in someone else's company of late. That "someone" is Kevin Durant, who has frequently garnered recognition as an incredibly distant second to James' continued dominance.
Ask Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings, and he'll tell you that's changed:
As of right now KD is the best player in the league.— BRANDON JENNINGS (@BrandonJennings) January 30, 2014
Props to Jennings for telling it like it is—especially when it's blatantly obvious to everyone that Durant is playing like the NBA's best player right now.
Although Jennings is liable to create a stir with his assertion, it's not really too bold. This wasn't him saying Durant trounces James, it's him acknowledging Durant is the best player right now.
The "right now" is important. Super important. It implies that he's heavily weighting recent performance, and recently, Durant has been unstoppable.
Slim Reaper has topped 30 points in each of his last 12 games, averaging a jaw-dropping 38 points on a scorching 54.4 percent shooting during that time, pairing efficiency with volume. Not even James himself could stop him right now.
"There's nobody that can guard him one-on-one," James admitted to SportsCenter before his Miami Heat squared off against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
We need not look any further than Durant's stat line during Oklahoma City's romping of Miami to understand that James wasn't kidding:
Kevin Durant's final line: 33 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 12/23 shooting, +18 in 40 minutes.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 30, 2014
Incredible. That's how Durant is playing right now.
So incredible, that he has CBSSports.com's Zach Harper breaking out his crystal ball:
That game two years from now in which Kevin Durant goes for 105 points is going to be insane.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 30, 2014
And he has Knicks.com's Jonah Ballow making Hall of Fame comparisons:
Kevin Durant is a modern day Larry Bird.— Jonah Ballow (@jonahballow) January 30, 2014
Will Durant ever permanently overtake James as the NBA's best player?
When you're hot, you're hot. And Durant is on fire. Let's not ruin his current streak by making it into something bigger than it actually is.
James will always be the NBA's best player while he's around. One insane stretch of dominance by his greatest individual rival won't change that.
However, it's Durant who's playing like the NBA's best player.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com (subscription required) unless otherwise noted.