Feb 14, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) handles the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second half at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Has Kevin Durant developed a LeBron James complex?

Most people look at Skip Bayless as a talking head that will do anything to gain attention. This is very true to an extent but it doesn’t mean that he is clueless and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Bayless – a huge fan of Kevin Durant – has been very critical of him over the years. Most recently, he is calling KD out for having a “LeBron Complex.”

He is essentially saying that Durant is too nice and shouldn’t be allowing Russell Westbrook to play the way that he was, Bayless compares Russ to Kobe. It should be the other way around with Durant approaching the court with a Kobe-like mentality and Westbrook being more passive.

The way Bayless phrases this is what will have people up in arms. What he’s actually saying is something that probably everyone has agreed with at some point in time.

What we’ve seen this season is the most dramatic change in Durant’s game. He is trying to be more of an all-around player, improving as a passer, defender and rebounder. On paper, there’s nothing wrong with this and it makes total sense. But at times it feels like Durant has lost his identity somewhat and it isn’t helping the Thunder win.

It makes sense to try and imitate the best player in the league, which is seems is what Durant has been doing. But it doesn’t make sense if you can’t do it perfectly. If Durant can’t be as good as LeBron is playing his game, then it becomes a bad idea to try and be like LeBron. Even when LeBron was slightly not as good, he was still the best player in the league but he wasn’t good enough to win titles yet.

Durant becoming LeBron is something that will never happen and Durant needs to realize this. He needs to just be himself and if anything, more like Kobe.

Bayless is right on the money with this assertion of Durant and he will always be right unless Durant wins a title playing this way. That’s why this is a safe argument for Bayless to make because the only thing that makes him wrong is if Durant wins a title.

The Thunder look further from winning a title right now than they have all season. There is real fear in the minds of Thunder fans. There is fear that the Harden trade was a horrible mistake, Scott Brooks is not the right coach for this team and Durant is not playing the right way. None of those fears existed a season ago, at least not to the extent that they do now.

The regular season is almost over and the playoffs will soon begin. We know how the game changes at that point and it will be very interesting to see which Durant we see. Will he continue to keep imitating LeBron or will be become more Kobe-like? It really could be either.

Tags: Kevin Durant LeBron James Miami Heat Oklahoma City Thunder

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500180039 Saransh Gaurav Bhatt

    I’m sorry but this article is ridiculous for failing to recognize that playing with a “LeBron-complex” is playing the game the right way. Kobe is notorious for being a bad teammate, Shaq called him out for it, Phil Jackson called him out for it, even at the beginning of this season Dwight called him out for it. LeBron has never been that. Jeff Van Gundy said it best in last year’s playoffs: “I coached Russell Westbrook, his name was Steve Francis, but the biggest regret I have is trying to change him too much. Scott Brooks has done a phenomenal job with Russell because he has improved rapidly over the past five years. Brooks does a great job of accentuating Westbrook’s strengths and minimizing his weaknesses.” Now that Harden is gone it’s all the more imperative for Westbrook to be ultra aggressive and not second guess himself when he has a mismatch. Durant being a more efficient scorer than Westbrook doesn’t mean that Durant can’t develop a strong passing game as well. End of rant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500180039 Saransh Gaurav Bhatt

    P.S. Skip Bayless hates LeBron James because he’s a Michael Jordan fanatic and LeBron is the most serious threat to MJ’s legacy as the GOAT, so keep in mind that Skip has ulterior motives and that’s why players like KD/LBJ tune him out.

    • akennedy13

      My ultimate point though is that KD trying to do a LeBron imitation and failing is not good for the Thunder. Maybe he succeeds at it and the Thunder are better off but watching it this season, I haven’t felt that way yet. I agree that Westbrook being Westbrook is for the best. I just don’t want to see Durant being too passive come playoff time.