Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant sidestepped a question Thursday on ESPN's First Take about who he believes the top five players are in the NBA right now, but he named Nets teammate Kyrie Irving and the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James among his favorites to watch.
Stephen A. Smith asked the two-time NBA Finals MVP and 10-time All-Star selection if he's the best basketball player in the world, and Durant downplayed the importance of the label:
Durant is recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals while with the Golden State Warriors. He confirmed during Thursday's interview he's planning to sit out the entire 2019-20 season.
The 31-year-old two-time Olympic gold medalist joined the Nets as part of an offseason overhaul that included the additions of Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler. Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen returned to create a formidable group.
But without Durant in the lineup, Brooklyn—which is off to a 1-3 start—doesn't quite reach the level of championship contender. This year will be more about building the foundation so it can hit the ground running when the superstar forward returns next fall.
In the meantime, it sounds like Durant will spend a lot of time surfing NBA League Pass watching his favorite players between rehab and bonding with his new teammates.