Following a fracture in his right foot, which limited him to playing 27 games in the 2014-2015 season, Kevin Durant has come back stronger than ever. His brilliance through the first half of the season has the Oklahoma City Thunder playing their best basketball in years.
Durant is shooting as efficiently as ever, as his field goal percentage (52.1 percent) and true shooting percentage (64.9 percent) are both career highs. While Russell Westbrook had an incredible year in Durant’s absence, Durant has proven that he is simply a more complete player on both sides of the basketball.
Virtually unguardable at 6’10” with an enormous wingspan, Durant’s elite offensive game coupled with his underrated defensive prowess has him knocking on the door of the best player in the league. Stephen Curry continues to dazzle on a nightly basis, and LeBron’s all-around dominance can’t be overlooked, but this season, Durant has cemented himself to be on the same level as these two players.
Offensively, they are all juggernauts that do the majority of their damage from different spots on the floor. However, Curry and LeBron don’t have a player on their team taking more shots than them on a nightly basis. Durant is a player that historically hasn’t lost efficiency when increasing his volume. The same could be said of Curry, but if Durant were taking 20 shots per game, he would certainly be in the driver seat for this season’s scoring title.
Durant can get any shot he wants at any point. His elite ball handling and scoring leaves him in a league of his own at his size. There is nobody in the league quite like Kevin Durant, while Curry has a few impersonators – Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard come to mind. Curry just happens to be the best out of all of them.
Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are currently locked in as the No. 3 seed in the West, and will be a tough out for any team that faces them. But if Durant is able to lead his team past the Spurs and Warriors come playoff time, his case as the best player in the NBA won’t just be compelling – it will be accurate.