As the NBA has evolved so has the talents of its players. In today’s game offense is key unlike the defensive centric NBA of generations past. Due to rule changes, and the overall lack of physicality, scoring in today’s NBA is easier than ever.
The goal of basketball is to put the ball in the basket. So the question must be asked, who is the best at doing that in today’s game. Those who are at the forefront of the conversation are: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kyrie Irving.
All five of these all-stars have proven this year they are some of the leagues best scorers. Irving is considered one of, if not the leagues best finisher around the rim and closers. Curry is second in the league in points per game this season, and now has seven consecutive seasons with at least 200 made three pointers.
Harden had a remarkable streak of 32 straight games scoring at least 30 points. Meanwhile, Lebron notably just passed Michael Jordan to become fourth on the all-time scoring list.
Nonetheless, all these amazing scorers pail in comparison to the NBA’s current best scorer,Kevin Durant.
Durant’s Skillset is like no other
The main reason Durant is ahead of every other great scorer in the NBA, is because his skillset has never been seen before. We have seen great isolation players, great shooters, and players who are great attacking the rim. However, Durant can do all these things while being a near seven footer.
On the season Kevin Durant is averaging 27 points on 51 percent from the field and 36 percent from three. Durant can score from anywhere on the court whether it be an isolation, post up, off a screen or as the ball handler in the pick and roll. Not to mention, Durant is an amazing ball handler considering his height.
Here is an example of a nasty Durant crossover:
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The move to Golden State took Durant’s offensive game to a higher level. In Golden State’s system he became less of an isolation player and became a better off baller scorer. Now, Durant is just as dangerous off the ball, as he is with the ball in his hands. On catch and shoot threes this season Durant’s percentage rises from 36 percent to 40 percent.
Durant’s skillset is an anomaly, there has never been a seven footer in the history of basketball who can shoot, and dribble like Durant.
How do you Defend Kevin Durant
Unlike other candidates for the NBA’s best scorer, we’ve never truly seen Kevin Durant struggle for a stretch of time. Harden currently has a playoff stigma around him because he doesn’t score as well during the playoffs. Just like all great shooters we’ve seen Curry go through shooting slumps. Finally, James has the 2011 finals blemish where at one point he was a non factor offensively.
Another reason Durant is the NBA’s best scorer is because he is the league’s biggest matchup problem. There are only about two players who have the physical frame to matchup with Durant. Both Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo have the ability to match Durant in height and length.
Even though those two can match Durant’s height, he is so offensively gifted he can still score on them. Any other player Durant is tall enough to shoot over top of, or is quicker enough to take them off the dribble to score.
This season when a defender is within two feet of Durant on his jump shots, he is still shooting 49 percent from the field.
The Greatest Scorer Ever?
As mentioned earlier, Durant’s skillset is like none other in NBA history. So therefore its fair to ask where he ranks in terms of the all-time scorers in NBA history. Sometime next season Durant will crack the top 25 on the all time points leaders list. In addition, Durant ranks fifth in all time points per game in NBA history.
Many believe Durant is not only the NBA’s best scorer today, but the greatest scorer of all time. Last year Durant’s teammate Andre Iguodala said ” He’s the most talented scorer of all time, he’s a walking 30 points.”
Paul Pierce had a similar sentiment saying ” He is the most elite scorer in NBA history, the most dynamic scorer in NBA history.”
Stopping Kevin Durant from scoring is near impossible, teams best hope is Durant settles for contested jumpers from far out. It’s safe to say for the remainder of his prime, Durant will be the NBA best scorer.