Former Bulls Star Toni Kukoc Says Kevin Durant Is 'The Best Player in the NBA'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2020

DALLAS - OCTOBER 25:  Toni Kukoc #7 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on against the Dallas Mavericks during the game at American Airlines Arena on October 25, 2005 in Dallas, Texas.  The Mavericks won 94-86.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2005 NBAE  (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Glenn James/Getty Images

In November, Kevin Durant showed his appreciation to Toni Kukoc in a workout photo. A half-year later, Kukoc is returning the favor.

The former NBA forward called Durant the best player in basketball during a Reddit AMA on Saturday.

Kukoc wrote:

"Plenty of times LeBron is mistaken as a point guard, which is awesome. Kevin Durant, to me in my personal opinion, is the best player in the NBA. He can easily bring the ball up the floor. That’s a style that the triangle offense allowed that any one of us could run the point or be a post person or fill the corners. It’s not requirement to have a point guard, you can have skill players with 3 or 4 guys on the same team playing multiple positions."

It's a bit surprising to hear Kukoc describe Durant as the NBA's best player at the moment, given he is recovering from a ruptured Achilles—an injury that is almost unilaterally career-altering.

The last time we saw Durant on the floor, however, he was looking like the best player on the planet. His combination of size, athleticism and shooting is generational, to the point he's already one of the 15 greatest players in league history at age 31. We'll have to see what version of Durant returns for the 2020-21 season to accurately gauge what his next chapter will look like. 

As for the debate about who is the best player on the planet, it may be the most wide-open it's been since the mid-2000s. LeBron's stranglehold on the mantle has loosened over the last couple of years, in part because of the ascent of guys like Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard, and because age has forced him to take plays off defensively.

Antetokounmpo would run away with his second straight MVP if a vote were cast today, but his lack of playoff accomplishments presses pause on his seizing of the throne.

The question would likely have been answered in the 2020 playoffs. However, the coronavirus pandemic put that—and all sports-related queries—on hold.