So I have a hot take I would like to share. And this may or may not be a hot take to some. However, I gotta put it all out for the sake of this blog. *Braces myself*
LeBron James is the 4th best player in the NBA.
Yeah I said it and its okay if he isn’t. That’s not to say LeBron is washed or isn’t good anymore, as I still have him in my top 5 category and it doesn’t take away from his Hall of Fame credentials. In the beginning of the year, the gap on LeBron against the field was thin but now it looks like the gap has closed.
As far as who the best player in the league is, I think its Steph Curry. He has been unbelievable this year and will probably win MVP again. The Warriors have been historically great and he is the driving force behind it. Others can make a case for Kevin Durant. He has had a sensational year following his injury filled campaign last year. Offensively, he is a juggernaut and can score effortlessly which isn’t something new. Kawhi Leonard has also developed into a great two way player who is now the heart and soul of a great defensive Spurs team. Just look at him. He was made to be a Spur.
Now one could make arguments for LeBron to keep his spot on the throne but my argument against is that the three I mentioned are all better shooters than he is and with the game played today, having good/great shooters is a must and they’re really hard to find. Speaking of that, you need to be able to defend as well. Kawhi is the best defender out of the four. Curry in my opinion is an underrated defender because his team-defense attribute goes unnoticed due to the casual fans obsession with man defense. As for Durant, he is an above average defender and his length helps with that. There are times where LeBron is more Harden-esque on defense and he doesn’t (at least willingly) have the desire to defend all 5 positions like he used to anymore. As far as other skills go, Curry is probably the better passer (spoiler; more assist per game does not necessarily mean better passer) & Durant is probably a more serviceable rebounder.
In other miscellaneous points, Kawhi & Steph like I said are spearheading all-time great teams. Durant is half the reason why the Thunder have at least a shot (if Durant nor Westbrook weren’t around the Thunder would be in trouble). And while the Cavs are still atop of the Eastern Conference and are likely to win it, there is a bit of a crisis going on with that team and hilariously he is sort of the backbone to that with his social media shade, alleged string pulling in the front office, and comments of teaming up with CP3, Melo, and Wade when they all become senior citizens. The soap opera that is the Cavs may see their downfall as a result of the internal distractions. Durant is in a contract year and it’s not even as distracting, think about that. Everyday there is something new about the Cavs. (Note; he is still an overall good dude, he’s just…weird).
Again, LeBron has deserved everything he has accomplished and he has been an elite player for about a decade now. And he could take back his number one spot because he is that special of a player. However, as of now Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry are all better than he is and moving forward I’d rather have any one of those three on my team than him. Especially at the fact that he’s played so many minutes throughout his career and that he is 31. To end this fiery take post, here are some stat lines of the four players. I’ll let you *guess* who’s who. You also can take these stats and put them into your own context as well.
Player A: 24.9 PPG 6.6 APG 7.4 RPG 1.4 SPG .50/.28/.72 (FG%, 3p FG%, FT %) 11.4 WS (Win Shares) 8.4 PM (Plus Minus) .57% TS% (True Shooting)
Player B: 20.8 PPG 2.5 ASG 6.8 RPG 1.8 SPG .50/.46/.88 12.4 WS 8 PM .61% TS%
Player C: 30.1 PPG 6.6 APG 5.4 RPG 2.1 SPG .50/.45/.90 15.5 WS 12.4 PM .67% TS%
Player D: 28 PPG 5 APG 8.3 RPG 1.3 BPG .50/.38/.89 12.7 WS 7.5 PM .63% TS%
Welcome to the AD report.