September 22, 2010
As Kobe Bryant(notes) gets older and older and eventually retires, the NBA's biggest debate is going to change from "LeBron or Kobe?" to "LeBron or Durant?" And while a Kobe-free league is still a few years in the future, with his skills declining with age, some people think it's already time to start having the Kevin Durant(notes) debate. We know Rolling Stone puts Durant ahead of Kobe and we know that Kenny Smith thinks KD will be the best player in the league in three years. But how about the players? How do they feel?
Well, that's a tad bit misleading as Patrick really asked who he'd rather have on his team, but it's still interesting that an elite NBA player would choose Durant over LeBron. I mean, Durant is a great, great player and an amazing scorer, but is he really better than LeBron James, right now? Probably not. More likable? Definitely, but not the better basketball player just yet.
And it's not like Dwight is putting Durant ahead of LeBron just because he likes him more. Howard still ranks Kobe as the best player in the game, and as we know, he's still more unlikable than LeBron James. Plus, Dwight and LeBron are pretty good friends, meaning this seems like Dwight is giving an honest assessment of his rankings of the three best players in the league — Kobe, Durant and LeBron, in that order. Curious, as most objective observers would have that order completely reversed with a few Dwyane Wades and, well, Dwight Howards thrown in for good measure.
Then again, Dwight's response could be just a symptom of his distaste for the Miami Heat. He's clearly tired of being asked about the Magic's in-state rivals, and it's just as likely that he'd choose Kevin Durant over LeBron James simply because he's tired of hearing about LeBron James. That seems to be a pretty common viewpoint after everything that's gone down this summer.