Rand: The LeBron vs. Durant debate is already a classic one

  • Updated: January 29, 2014 - 7:46 PM
hide

Comparing LeBron James, left, and Kevin Durant is problematic because of differing ages, accomplishments and styles.

Photo: Sue Ogrocki • Associated Press file photo,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Heat and Thunder played Wednesday night, and judging by the buildup, one might have thought this had never happened before (let alone happened in the NBA Finals a couple of years back).

It has suddenly become fashionable to pose this question: Who is better, LeBron James or Kevin Durant? Basically, it’s a challenge to the previous notion that James is the unquestioned best player in the NBA right now (and possibly the best player of all time).

It’s also one of those classic bar stool debates that ultimately proves to be unfair to both players and impossible to answer. Here is why:

• The players will never be in the same stage of their careers at the same time. Want to feel old? LeBron turns 30 in December. Durant, on the other hand, is four years younger. He is about at the point in his career where LeBron was during his final year with the Cavaliers. While it is certainly fun to watch them square off, they have different objectives.

• Because of that, it’s not only hard to measure them head-to-head, but also hard to define their accomplishments. Durant has reached the NBA Finals once, while James has made it four times (three with the Heat, once with the Cavs) and won two titles. But when James was 25, he had also made only one Finals appearance. If Durant doesn’t match James’ titles eventually while staying in Oklahoma City, does that make him inferior? Hardly, since James only got his rings when he hand-picked his team and supporting cast.

• They are completely different types of players. Durant is a deadly scorer who is nearly impossible to guard because of his height, range and quick release. While he is also a solid rebounder and is averaging a career-high 5.2 assists this season, he is primarily a scorer. James is a hybrid who can quite literally play all five positions. He, too, has worked to improve areas of his game, and he is nearly impossible to guard because of his power, vision and range of skills.

Trying to compare Durant and James might be fun, but any answer is elusive at best. Instead, let’s just enjoy two of the greatest players of all time and hope they have many more NBA duels to come.

Michael Rand

  • related content

  • FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2013, file phot, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots in front of Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) during NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, It's a matchup of perhaps the best two players in the NBA, when James and Durant square off on Wednesday night, Jan. 29, in Miami.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 2nd Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 3rd Qtr
UAB 24
(7) UCLA 21 3rd Qtr
Virginia 10
Western Mich 14 2nd Qtr 1:56
Purdue 20
(5) Ohio State 6 3rd Qtr
Navy 7
Appalachian St 0 3rd Qtr
Michigan 35
Ga Southern 10 2nd Qtr 5:45
NC State 3
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close