Even Kevin Durant's self-serving compliments are noble.
He thinks? Honestly, thinking Durant is the best scorer alive feels wrong—because he is, without a doubt, the best scorer alive.
Little thinking is involved on this matter if it's in the context of active NBA players. If his statement includes legends such as Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then there's some debating to do. But there isn't a better scorer in the NBA right now than Durant.
Over the last five years, Durant has won four scoring titles. During that time, he's averaged an otherworldly 29.3 points per game—more than anyone else in the NBA—on nearly 49 percent shooting. LeBron James is a not-so-close second, having averaged 27.3 points a night during that same span.
Any challengers aren't really challengers at this point. Not Carmelo Anthony, not a healthy Derrick Rose, not even a 2009 version of Kobe Bryant. There is only Durant, in a scoring class all by himself, as the unchallenged—and modest—point-totaling king.
The only thing Durant actually has to think about is when those points will equate to championships. Although he's no empty stat-stuffer—the Thunder are right there, competing for a title every year—Durant and Co. have been unable to climb that championship mountain.
Seven years deep into his career, Durant is starting to feel the pressure. All eyes will generally be focused on James, but the world is watching and waiting for Durant to add rings to his fingers.
Oklahoma City is beginning to feel the pressure as a result. As Welcome to Loud City's Joe Atmonavage forewarned during a look into the Thunder's future, Durant's 2016 free-agency excursion could get real dicey real quick if he hasn't won by then:
It's been straight madness and this is TWO years out. If the Thunder don't win the 2014-15 NBA title, we are going to get this type of speculation x1000. Hell, we may be analyzing Durant's shoe colors or what he eats trying to dig into his thoughts in 12 months.
We could see the speculation heat up because if Durant is still title-less and the Thunder's 'window' could be closing. Can Durant ever win a title in OKC? It would make much more sense to the average fan for Durant to leave if he never wins an NBA title as a member of the Thunder. On the surface, he wouldn't owe the Thunder anything.
Leaving Oklahoma City remains a distinct possibility for the ever-loyal Durant—one that he himself hasn't ruled out.
"Who knows what’ll happen? You never can close a door on anything, but I like where I’m at right now," Durant said at the end of July, via The Washington Post's Michael Lee. "I can’t answer those questions."
Indeed, he can't. There's no use trying to either.
For now, Durant is in Oklahoma City, a proud member of the Thunder and the proud owner of the league's hottest scoring hand.