Scoring is Overrated – KD vs. LBJ

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Bunker

Scoring is Overrated

The debate between who is the better player between LeBron James and Kevin Durant shouldn’t even be a discussion. For some reason there are those who would take KD over LBJ and while some of it has to do with the collective disdain for LeBron’s “ego” and admiration for Durant’s “humility”, I believe there’s something deeper. As a sports fans, we are obsessed with scoring, specifically scorers. I think this transcends basketball into other sports like football (touchdowns) and baseball (homer runs). We look at scorers and point to their PPG and scream about their greatness without accounting for what they do (or don’t do in other areas). In the LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant argument, many will point to the fact that Kevin Durant is the best scorer in the league and a three-time scoring champion. Scoring is what Kevin Durant does best. Over the past three years Durant has averaged 28.6 PPG. Very impressive. However, LeBron James has averaged 27.8 PPG over the same span. Less than 1 point difference between the two men. So with LeBron James, I get a dominant passer, arguably the most versatile defender in the league and the best rebounding small forward in the league. Durant’s best attribute is scoring and LeBron seems to do everything else on the court better besides scoring, but the point differential is less than one point, I believe there’s no argument. LeBron James is better and it’s not close. But I’m not looking to create a chikaism, I want to understand the obsession with wanting to place Durant in the number 1 slot.

A tough jump shot always looks better than a simple pick and roll pass for a lay up. The dynamic scorer is aesthetically pleasing and in our highlight generation gives us what we think we love about basketball. The problem is nowadays we are prisoners of the highlights and not the game itself. No one ever argued if Dominique was better than Larry Bird back in the late 80s. However, when Kobe was paired up with Shaq, people debated whether they wanted Kobe or Allen Iverson. A few years later, Tracy McGrady emerged as the dynamic scorer in the league and then we wondered if McGrady was Kobe’s equivalent. Fast forward to the era of “the closer” and now there’s a debate between KD and LBJ. The last scoring champion to win the NBA championship was Shaquille O’Neal in 2000. We’ll see if Durant can be the next. But a win in the finals doesn’t launch Durant into the #1 spot. At least not yet. 

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  1. […] Scoring is Overrated – KD vs. LBJ […]

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