Kevin Durant and LeBron James have pulled away from the field, setting up what could be a thrilling head-to-head finish down the stretch for Most Valuable Player.
Durant is having the better season so far. There’s little question about that. With Russell Westbrook out, Durant has put the Thunder on his back, raising his game to its highest levels. LeBron, coming off back-to-back lengthy playoff runs that yielded championships, has relatively coasted.
Yet, LeBron is still widely considered the NBA’s best player. With four MVPs in the last five years – Derrick Rose stole one in the middle – LeBron has built up enough benefit of the doubt. He has also remained within striking distance of Durant for having the best 2013-14 season.
Durant-LeBron comparisons have obviously run rampant, as deciding between the two depends on the terms of the debate and personal preference. There’s no easy resolution here.
The players themselves aren’t immune from the discussion, often taking questions about each other and seeing the debate anytime they peruse sports media.
Asked during Friday’s All-Star media day session to gauge on a scale of one to 10 how tired he is of having to face comparisons to James, the Oklahoma City star ventured well off the charts.
“Um, about a 25,” Durant fired back. “It’s every day, I mean. You should really focus on how good LeBron James is. I think people should appreciate that more than always comparing guys. In our world, you want to compare everything. You judge everything. That’s just how we are.”
“Let’s just sit back and judge basketball as we play it; not just LeBron and myself, but other guys in the league, too,” Durant said. “Just enjoy it, because it’s here today and gone tomorrow. A lot of people take it for granted.”
LeBron, via Wallace:
I don’t mind [Durant questions] at all. I’m a truthful guy. I don’t sugarcoat nothing.
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It’s interesting to see the difference between the two.
I don’t think Durant will let the comparisons get to him, even if he doesn’t enjoy them. But it could get grating. LeBron, on the other hand doesn’t mind the comparisons, inviting them even.
The discussion won’t end anytime soon. Durant doesn’t have to like it, but he better tolerate it. Otherwise, that gives LeBron an upper hand.
Yup, I just compared how Durant and LeBron handle comparisons between each other. Like I said, this isn’t going away.