The NBA GMs participated in their annual survey earlier this week where they all answered a series of questions regarding the league.
One of the questions was: Which player would you pick to start an NBA franchise with today?
Last year, the GMs were split right down the middle on this question, 37 percent for Kevin Durant and 37 percent for LeBron James.
Now 80 percent of GMs say they would take LeBron over Durant. That’s a lot of change in one year. LeBron is coming off the best year of his career and finally got the monkey off his back and won a title but when it comes to this question, Durant should be right there with LeBron.
The thinking behind picking Durant instead of LeBron a year ago should not have changed now. Durant is still four years younger, has not fully reached his potential and also just had the best season of his career. Unless you really believed a year ago that LeBron would never win a title, your vote should remain the same.
Regardless of what the GMs say, why is Durant the better choice here?
LeBron is clearly at the apex of his career. It would surprise just about everyone if he takes his game to another, higher level this coming season or the next. Best case for LeBron now is sustaining what he did last year. He needs to do that and if Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can keep playing at elite levels, the Heat will continue to compete for titles.
Durant’s ceiling is unreached and really unknown as of right now. Some say he was dominated by LeBron in the Finals. That’s not exactly true though. He did end up in foul trouble in a few games which definitely changed the series but that was something he could have controlled better. Offensively, Durant scored 30.6 points per game and shot 54.8 percent from the field in the Finals. That’s not exactly getting dominated.
So imagine what happens as Durant reaches his apex since he’s already putting in performances this great now. Imagine what becomes of the Thunder team as Durant and Westbrook continue to learn how to play together even better. Or when Durant becomes a better playmaker, maybe averaging around five assists per game, and a better defender, one who is actually a perfect design to counter LeBron.
Durant is also the better closer. This seems to mainly be due to the fact that he is a better shooter and essentially the best shooter in the league. Just about every team that wins a title has their best player known for being clutch. Chris Paul is the NBA’s best closer right now but Durant is next in line. He gave us a glimpse of just how dominant he can be in the fourth quarter in last year’s playoffs. Soon he will take over the reigns as the league’s best closer which will take his game and team to another level.
Because Durant is the better pure shooter, his game is better suited for the long-haul. Durant will likely be able to play forever with that skill. What happens when LeBron starts losing a step and can’t blow by defenders anymore? What’s he going to start relying on? He will still be one of the best players in the league but not nearly in the same way that he is now.
Durant is pretty close to LeBron already. He’s only a few years at most away from getting to his level as he continues to ascend and LeBron soon will decline. When starting a franchise you have to be thinking long-term right? Give me Durant in that case.