For much of this summer and parts of this past season. The NBA Media seemingly has taken a stance to elevate Kevin Durant into the debate of best player. For the most part, the debate has often been between three players. Those three players for the most part have been Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. It appears that many are more than ready and willing to dump Wade out of the equation.
Their newest preference of choice resides on the Oklahoma City Thunder and is named Kevin Durant. Somehow the 21-year-old Durant is now viewed as a better player than the 28-year-old 2006 NBA Finals MVP.
To be honest, it’s illogical to think that a player who wasn't even considered as a top 10 player after the previous season (2008-2009) could somehow be considered a top three player after this past season.
To make a claim like that, one would have to suggest that the proposed player doubled his production while all the previous players who were consider better decreased their production by half of what it was. That’s the only way the claim can bare some semblance of truth.
So either Wade was overrated after the 2008-2009 season or Durant was drastically underrated.
Either way, this situation deserves a closer look as to what's truth and what's fiction.
In early August of this year two NBA analysts set the fire ablaze with their controversial claims that Durant was better than Dwyane Wade. Those two analysts were Kenny Smith of TNT, and Steve Kerr who had recently been relieved of his GM duties for the Phoenix Suns.
Intelligent fans didn’t gasp at their claims, they gasped at the lack of reasoning and the misinforming direction of them.
The claims came in an interview constructed by NBAtv.
Smith was initially asked if the Christmas Day game that featured the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Miami Heat also featured the top three players in the world. Smith quickly disagreed on the assumption.
Smith commented by saying, “No, I don’t agree it’s the top three, I think Kevin Durant is in the top three.”
He would follow his bold statement with an argument that left tons of holes to poke at.
“I’ve been saying this for the last year and a half, for two years now…I said it was three, but now in two years, I still think he’s going to be the best basketball player in the planet. I think he offers that much to the game. It showed in the Lakers series last year…that he was capable of taking his team to seven games and they pushed the Lakers probably harder than anybody in the whole playoff round so Kevin Durant is in that mix. I think LeBron James is numero uno, but Kevin Durant is in the passenger seat going “oh, hey how you doin?”
The statement exposed just how misinformed and unaware he is of the very sport he proclaims to be an analyst of.
In regards to his claims that the Thunder pushed the Lakers to seven games, it just isn’t true. The series lasted six games and Durant shot 35-percent for the series. So his claims that Durant took his team anywhere in the playoffs is a ignorant statement to say the lease.
Next he proclaims that Durant and his Thunder teammates pushed the Lakers harder than any other team in the playoffs. This was ridiculous to say the lease.
The Boston Celtics were the team that reached the Finals and pushed the Lakers to their only seven game series of the playoffs; holding a 64-61 lead with 6:12 to go in the final game.
So as fans can see. Just because a guy has the title of analyst, doesn’t mean he’s very credible at doing such. But that wasn’t the end of Smith‘s interview.
He followed the previous statement with, “I think that Kevin Durant is better…in my estimation at this point, he’s probably a hair above Dwayne Wade or just right there. You can’t exclude him from that conversation like you were about to saying the top three players in the world today.”
Notice how he arrogantly suggests that a person can’t exclude Durant from debates of the top three players. Seemingly passing his opinion off as actual fact.
As a human being, I felt offended that Smith suggested what I could and couldn’t do. But then I reminded myself just who I was listening too.
In regards to Steve Kerr's statement of, “Actually, you know I think Kobe is No. 1. He’s the world champion and he’s the guy as Kenny said, who hits all the big shots at the end of games. I think LeBron has to be in there and I might put Durant in there, right there with Dwyane Wade. I think if you have to pick somebody for the future, you absolutely go with Durant because of his youth and his size and his health. I think he’s on the rise and I agree with Kenny, I think he’s already in the top three.”
There are two problems with his statement. The first is that he suggests Durant is better based on physical attributes and youth. He doesn’t make a single reference to ability or production. The second problem I have is him contradicting himself by initially saying he’d put Durant right next to Wade but a few seconds later saying Durant was top three. Thus pushing Wade out of the debate.
Basically suggesting Durant somehow got better during his interview.
The Problem with the Argument
There is nothing wrong with people having opinions that differ from those of others. Conflicting interest are what leads people to discussing their differences, which in return leads to a better understanding of one another. I preach this as often as possible.
However, most people would suggest that we all have a moral obligation to be logical in our assertions.
So is there any logic in the notion that Durant is a better player in just three seasons of basketball when compared to the seven year veteran Dwyane Wade?
In order for the statement that Durant is better than Wade to bare merit, three things need to be agreed upon.
One: Durant has too be better overall in the skills department. He’d have to exceed Wade as a ball-handler, passer, defender, shooter, finisher, and etc.
Two: Durant has to be viewed as possessing a better understanding of the game in only three seasons of basketball.
Three: Durant has to have some foundation to suggest that he’s more accomplish with his abilities than Dwyane Wade. Keep in mind that Wade has the distinction of holding the highest recorded player efficiency ranking in NBA Finals history.
If a person can honestly lay claim to those ideas by providing a logical and factual argument that bare resemblance to truth, the argument can be considered as a valid point.
However that isn’t the case.
There hasn’t been one argument to date that suggests those claims. There have only been statements that aren’t being supported with reason or logic.
This isn’t fair to the sport of basketball, nor is it fair to the player who has consistently proved himself to be a top three performer for much of his seven year career.