Yesterday, SB Nation came out with a list of who they think will be the top 100 players in the league in 2017.
They had Kevin Durant No. 1 and LeBron James No. 2. The idea behind it I think was that 2017 will be the first year that most believe Durant is the best player in the league, finally surpassing LeBron.
The question is: when will KD surpass LeBron? Will it be sooner or later than 2017? Will it be never or will someone else become the best player in the NBA instead?
I do believe that the next player to hold the title of “Best in the NBA” will be Durant. It’s really just too hard to try and come up with someone else. Maybe Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving or Andrew Wiggins have a shot but definitely not more of one than Durant.
Right now, LeBron is without question the best player in the league, no matter which way you slice it. That will probably never be the case with Durant, as his ceiling just isn’t quite what LeBron’s is, and LeBron is at it right now.
But the path Durant is on right now could get him to one of the all-time great levels. Remember that last season was one of the best statistical seasons ever. If KD can continue to be a 50-40-90 guy and score as much as he has been while improving passing and defense, he will be in a class by himself.
But ultimately, the thing that will have us putting Durant ahead of LeBron will be winning. The NBA is great because more often than not, it takes having the best player in the league playing the best for a team to win a title.
When the Thunder win a title, it will most likely be at the same point when Durant is playing better than anyone in the league.
I think the Thunder can win a title next season and definitely before 2017. So there is a chance they could do so and the Heat kind of fall off yet LeBron is still the apparent best player in the league.
LeBron is 28 right now and Durant is still just 24. Most players peak around 28 and then begin to decline. I don’t think LeBron is ready to drop off, it will probably be 2-3 years before we see a noticeable difference in his game (probably first a decreasing athletic advantage).
So my bet is actually going to be 2016 when Durant surpasses LeBron. Durant will be 27 and LeBron 31. Over the next three years, I think there is a good chance that Durant has as many MVP’s and championships as LeBron does, and KD’s will be the more recent.
I can’t wait to live in a world where that is reality instead of just a hope of what the future might look like.