Giving as much love to Carmelo Anthony as I can, I believe Kevin Durant is the future icon of the Western Conference. Kobe Bryant will be on his way out in a few seasons and Durant won't even be in his late 20s.
Want to read that sentence again?
That's right, Kevin Durant is the future of the West. At an unbelievable 21 years of age KD is second overall in the league in scoring at 29.6 PPG.
He's also doing it ridiculously efficiently (48% FG), hitting the boards (7.5 RPG), and has his Oklahoma City Thunder tied for the fifth in the Western Conference.
To all the nagging haters who said he was overrated and merely putting up big numbers for a garbage team, oh, how quickly times change. In all seriousness, though, did anyone expect it to change this quickly?
Watching Kevin Durant evolve has been faster than any NBA star in recent memory, other than LeBron James of course. Durant's age is still ridiculous as most of this year's rookie class are the same age as him or one year younger at best.
When LeBron James was 21, he averaged 31.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 6.6 APG through 79 games, a ridiculous feat. I'm not saying Kevin Durant is LeBron, but his talent is undeniable, his ability incredible, and his ceiling unlimited.
Once Kobe is gone, I see Kevin Durant turning the Thunder into the dominant Western Conference franchise.
I have a hunch it will be the Thunder who come out on top.
None of the other young stars can boast an equally young and talented running partner in Russell Westbrook, or pieces like Jeff Green and James Harden.
The Thunder have done an outstanding job of gathering pieces who are all around the same age, hence giving them the ability to grow and mesh together but most importantly, stay together as their NBA careers unfold.
Now that we've established Kevin Durant and the Thunder as the future Kings of the West, what about LeBron?
It's a given LeBron will always be near the top, and in years to come it's really only safe to bet on a team with LeBron James or Dwyane Wade ruling the East.
In addition, it's only fair to select LeBron as Kevin's future nemesis as he is arguably the only player in the league who has more potential and natural talent than Durant himself.
So what do you guys think? LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant in the distant future?
I certainly think so.