Kevin Durant is a two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, 12-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, league MVP, and member of the 50-40-90 club. His resume is impeccable, and he is undeniable.
Durant is also a secondary leader, free traveler and has caused friction in all of his stops. He might have the best skillset ever, yet he is never even considered the best player of all time at his position.
Durant is both over and undervalued in many ways, making his overall career extremely hard to rank against the legends of the game. His book is not yet closed, but the final chapters are currently in writing.
Kevin Durant is Overrated
Durant appeared in one NBA Finals during his eight years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, falling to the “Heatles,” or the LeBron James-Dywane Wade-Chris Bosh Miami Heat. KD scored 30.6 points per game over the five contests but was unable to lift his squad, which featured younger versions of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka.
The current Brooklyn Net ultimately decided to leave OKC for the Golden State Warriors after falling to GSW in the Western Conference Finals. This decision came with massive backlash as the recent MVP fully embodied the adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
Popular pundits took to the air to question KD’s competitive integrity and desire to win, given that his Thunder had blown a 3-1 lead to the Warriors just before he left. Golden State had also just set the regular-season wins record with a 73-9 record that eclipsed the 72-10 Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.
Westbrook made Durant’s decision look even weaker next year when he went on to win the MVP by averaging a triple-double for the second time in NBA history.
Durant ultimately shined as a Warrior, becoming the clear-best player on their team in their conquests over LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in consecutive seasons.
However, trouble was brewing in paradise as a verbal altercation between Durant and teammate Draymond Green ended with the latter calling the former the B-word. The “slim reaper” denied accusations that these comments wore on him, but he chose to leave town at the end of the season.
Now in his third season in Brooklyn, his new home, Durant has already been faced with numerous problems; his teammate and confidant, Kyrie Irving, is unable to play in home games because of his vaccination status, and his two-time teammate, James Harden, was unhappy playing in the Barclays Center, ultimately forcing a trade for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond.
Questions have to be asked why Durant cannot seem to remain in good graces with his teammates, even if he is not being highlighted as a locker room problem— other greats of the game are elevated by their leadership and intangibles. Durant does not have any real argument in these categories.
Kevin Durant is Underrated
As much as everyone loves Larry Bird, Durant should be considered a top-two small forward of all time, yet he is not. He has the most unstoppable shot— not Kareem Abdul-Jabbar— with his dribble pull-up at the top of the key with a release point of around 11 feet. He is a 50-40-90 member, demonstrating his incredible efficiency from everywhere on the court.
He can do everything the game requires: shoot, pass, rebound, block, steal, guard multiple positions, read the defense, and take over the game in dire moments.
Many often disregard Durant’s two titles for how “cheap” they were in Golden State, but he was the most outstanding player in both of his Finals wins and hit the biggest shots of both series, a pair of pull-up threes in LeBron’s face.
KD has been the best player on every team he has been on in three stops and with multiple superstar teammates. He usually takes the last shot, and every time he does, it feels like it will go in.
The 6-foot-10 sniper has also recovered from a torn Achilles, a usual career-ender, better than any professional athlete ever has— in fact, he might be at the top of his game right now.
His Twitter confrontations and soft-spoken nature often curtail his ascension on the historical list of players. Still, when he retires, his accolades and the “eye test” will suggest that he was a top-10, perhaps top-five player ever.
The Decision is Yours
Bias will play a huge factor in Durant’s eventual all-time ranking; “player” players who prefer Kobe to LeBron will put Durant high for his incredible ability, while purist pundits will lower him for his lack of championships and inability to lead a team.
There is no player with a more polarizing career in terms of historical legacy. So the decision is yours.
Is Kevin Durant over or underrated?