Kevin Durant’s latest statement might be the boldest.
LeBron James certainly has something to say about that, as he claimed he was the best player in the world during the NBA Finals.
Durant might not be wrong, though. The last "full" season he played in (2013-14), he was the league MVP, even if James was still the better player. He’s at least in the conversation.
But Durant has competition for the No. 2 spot, let alone No. 1.
Anthony Davis has quickly established himself as a top-5, if not top-3 player, and he’s only getting better. Stephen Curry just won the MVP award, and has expanded his game — he’s become a better defender and rebounders — which puts him in the mix. James Harden, for all of his defensive flaws, is up there, too. And you can’t forget about Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, who each have their moments.
Of course, this line of rationale isn’t out of the ordinary for a star. Ask any top-15 who’s the best player in the NBA, and if they’re bound to say themselves (or, if someone is being humble, they’ll say LeBron).
Durant is up there, neck and neck with, or slightly behind, James, so it’s not a crazy statement. He could very well be the best player in the league next season if James takes a slight step back, and Davis can’t take a step forward.
But Durant needs to return to the hardwoof healthy first, and then get back to playing how he played two years ago, and not last season, before we can truly assess his place in the league’s hierarchy.