Is Kevin Durant the Greatest NBA Player of Our Time?06/18/2021
Kevin Durant, a snipe shooter in his own realm, had arguably the game of his life during Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. In 2019, all odds were against Durant, having ruptured his achilles tendon, an injury that has the potential to destroy many professional athletes’ careers.
However, in the early months of his astonishing comeback with the Brooklyn Nets, his peers and fans watched him not only maintain the same athletic caliber but excelled all expectations hitting record stats throughout the season. KD was playing as if he was back in the prime of his career and about two years after his injury, it appears that he is on the road to full recovery.
This season’s Eastern Conference Finals is the two-year mark of his career-threatening injury and simultaneously when Durant had possibly the best game of his life. In fact, KD might have put on one of the most spectacular individual performances the NBA has seen. Early this week, Brooklyn took a 3-2 series lead against Milwaukee Bucks. KD led the team to a win finishing the game with a historic triple-double of 49 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. With 69.6 percent shooting under his belt, it further cements that Durant has been great throughout his entire professional basketball career.
Though the stats were one to marvel at, it was the fact that he achieved these records without taking a break during the entire game. Durant played all 48 minutes of Game 5 and was crucial to the Nets’ comeback victory. With that game, he became the first player to play without rest in the postseason since LeBron James in 2018. The masterpiece performance even garnered a compliment from Bucks opponent Giannis Antetokounmpo who in a post-game interview called Durant “the best player in the world right now.”
Though that is the case, KD fans know that comparisons between him and King James have constantly been a topic of conversation throughout his career. For much of his time in the league, KD is always pitted against James, portrayed to be chasing his unofficial title of the greatest basketball player in the world. In an interview with Lee Jenkins, Durant acknowledges these discussions stating, “I’ve been second my whole life. I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.”
Game 6 of the semi-finals saw the Bucks take over in a 104-89 win against the Nets, forcing a Game 7. Though the team fell short, Durant’s individual performance should not be ignored. Despite the loss, he still finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds. Admittedly, Durant did not have his best game, outplayed by two Milwaukee frontcourt players. His lackluster performance raises questions regarding whether or not it might just be too much to ask of Durant to do it over and over again. Will KD succumb to the pressure or is this just a hiccup on the way to the top?
Throughout the playoffs, Jeff Green and Isaiah Thomas chimed in calling Durant the “best player in the world.” LeBron James even acknowledged KD’s Game 5 play in a Tweet, stating “GREATNESS!! Appreciate it while you can people! #KD.” If it is anything that Game 5 taught us, it is that Durant can carry the load, maneuver and will the ball to his command.
It still remains to be seen if Kevin Durant will be able to lead the Brooklyn Nets to victory beyond the Eastern Conference series and live up to his peer-given title as “the best player in the world right now.”
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