Is Lebron The King?
Lebron James is without a doubt the best basketball player in the world. Everyone and their grandmother knows that. The real question is who the 2nd best player in the world is. Is it the incredibly efficient 7-footer Kevin Durant? Is the silent assasin Kawhi Leonard? Maybe it’s the triple double machine in Russell Westbrook. One can argue it’s James Harden. Many will say it’s the two time MVP and splash brother, Steph Curry. Nevertheless, all of these guys are playing for second in command.
Kevin Durant for me is that guy. He has been my favorite player since I watched him go at Kobe and the Lakers in the playoffs in 2012 and only lost to a Pau Gasol tip in, in the dying seconds of the game. He’s decision to leave OKC was met with widespread criticism, some called it weak, some called it soft, some called it disrespect to his partner in crime Russell Westbrook.
I myself was disappointed at the fact that I wouldn’t get to see OKC try and get revenge on the Golden State Warriors but as the season wore on, I kind of understand the decision. But even if you hate him, let’s not turn a blind eye to how sensational KD is. Before the injury, he averaged 25.1 points per game on 16.5 shots. To show you how efficient that is Russell Westbrook took 8 more shots than him per game and averaged only 6 more points than him. Talk about efficiency.
He has the most points on the Golden State Warriors, while taking the third most shots, as Klay Thompson took 17.6 shots per game and Steph Curry took 18.3 shots per game. KD also improved defensively, posting career highs in rebounds (8.8 per game) and blocks (1.6 per game). The one argument that goes against KD is that he plays with two of the greatest shooters we have ever seen on his team, which creates space on the floor for him to get his shots, plus he should’ve closed out the series against Golden State.
Kawhi Leonard is just a beast and is an example to everyone that if you work hard no matter where you get drafted or how you are perceived you can become the best. He has played so well that Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley continue to make the case on NBA TNT that he is the 2nd best player in the league. On an aging Spurs team he has been immense on both ends of the floor. He averages 25.5 points per game shooting 48.5% from the field and 38% from three point range. That’s not even the most impressive thing about Kawhi Leonard. What other player in the league can go get you 30 points on any given night? In addition to that, go down the end and not only defend the best player but shut him down.
Who remembers the block on James Harden in the dying seconds of the game after he just hit the clutch 3. Oh yeah he’s clutch too. What a player! Kawhi Leonard may not be the best now but he might be soon, because at the age of 25 and playing under one of the great coaches in American team sports in Greg Popovich he is bound to improve. However, the one question mark that goes against him is actually he’s coach. He plays in a Popovich system and to some people and players that may be the reason he is so good. Players feel that he is a system player as KD alluded to a few years ago.
If you are like me and have always wondered what attitude old generation of players had, you’re looking at him. If Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson had a child, Russell Westbrook would be it. Unbridled aggression and the energy he plays with plus the passion. He plays with his heart on his sleeve every game. Whether it’s against Golden State or the 76ers. He doesn’t take any games off and doesn’t cheat the fans. He is first class all the way.
Westbrook led a very bad team to the 6th seed averaging a triple double, with 31.6 points per game, leading the league in points, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds per game. He was incredibly with 42 triple doubles, breaking the single season record held by Oscar Robertson since 1961. Incredible. However, it is bad sign when a fellow superstar leaves to join your rival. Furthermore, Westbrook took 1,941 shots, the most in a single season since Allen Iverson’s 2001 MVP season. The closest to him was James Harden, who took 400 shots less than him. Not even Kobe shot the ball this much. He had the lowest field goal percentage of any player in the top 40 of points per game with 42.5%. This is not good.
While he may be the MVP this season for making history, question marks remain as to whether you can win with Westbrook and whether he makes his teammates better like Lebron James and James Harden. Westbrook’s greatest strength can also be his greatest weakness. If Westbrook wants to win a championship, he may have to learn to take a step back to attract other stars because he can’t win by himself, even if he continues to put up a superhuman numbers.
First of all, let us just realize that three of the players in this list played together in OKC, what a dynasty they could’ve had. OKC GM Sam Presti and owner Clay Bennett need to have a look in the mirror and really evaluate themselves. James Harden is special and is the most improved player along with John Wall. He went from being called a selfish ball hog to being the assist leader in the NBA with 11.2 per game, second in points with 29.1 points per game and led what was supposed to be a Houston Rockets team that would barely make it to the playoffs to the 3rd seed in the difficult Western Conference.
Questions still linger about he’s defense but offensively he is special. Probably the best player at drawing fouls because at 6 foot 6 inches he is so hard to stop. Any other year he would be the MVP, but unfortunately it will be the second time he loses out on the title. That said, I consider Houston and not San Antonio, the real threat to the Warriors in the West, led by Harden.
Harden, though, unlike Westbrook, has a team built to benefit him. A team full of three point shooters in Lou Williams who averaged 17.5 points per game, along with probable sixth man of the year in Eric Gordon, not to mention Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza. Not to mention, probable coach of the year winner in Mike D’Antoni. Harden is in a system designed to benefit him, but do not let that take away from the fact that he is exceptional.
Lebron James recently said that he had no rival in the NBA, maybe he meant it, maybe he didn’t. But nobody can deny that the emergence of Steph Curry has not been the best for Lebron. Basketball play aside, Steph Curry has sold the most jerseys in the NBA in the last couple of years. Guess who is second. Lebron James. There is no question that for a period of time and before Golden State blew a 3-1 lead, Steph Curry was seen as the face of the NBA. There was even a point last season, he was considered to possibly be the best player in the NBA.
Now because of the seasons Harden and Westbrook have had and the fact that Kevin Durant joined Golden State, Steph Curry and probably Kyrie Irving are underrated. Steph Curry averaged 25.3 points per game on 46.8% shooting from the field, shooting 41.1% from three point range. This is better than his first MVP season.
Ray Allen widely considered to be the best 3-point shooter ever and has even said that Steph Curry is the greatest three point shooter in the games history. I mean he can pull up from half court. Steph Curry is also the only player in this list to have a championship ring and led the greatest regular season team in NBA history to 73 wins. However, Steph Curry had the opportunity to prove that he was better than Lebron. Instead he was bullied and taunted by Lebron, and Kyrie Irving who happened to hit that dagger three. Some will say that he was not 100% healthy. If Draymond Green was not suspended for Game 5 they win that series. The world may never know.
KD and Kawhi are the closest to Lebron James and it is a tossup between who is better. They are both incredible and my opinion changes every time I watch either of them. But KD has been second best since his MVP season, when we saw just how good this guy is. Injuries have curtailed him and I would rather have a Kawhi Leonard who always seems to be available. But based on talent, Kevin Durant is the second best player in the NBA, but Kawhi Leonard is close. This is just how I view it. What do you guys think?