Kobe Bryant is aging. Dwight Howard hasn't developed a dominant offensive game. LeBron James may lack the mental makeup of a champion and will no longer be able to prove his dominance playing alongside Dwyane Wade. Basically, the circumstances clearly have been set for Kevin Durant to lay claim to the title of best basketball player on the planet.
While Michael Jordan and Kobe are relative exceptions, many of the very best players are physical anomalies. Howard and James are simply bigger and more athletic than anybody at their position. Durant, likewise, is a freak. "The Durantula" stands 6-foot-9, and has length far beyond that number. Given that he is primarily a jump shooter in a Kevin Garnett-esque body, he is basically taking open looks whenever he puts it up.
When he does so, he's dominant. Durant led the league in scoring in 2009-10, averaging over 30 points per contest. He shot 47.6 percent from the field, an incredible rate for somebody putting up as many shots as he does. He also shot 90 percent from the line and respectably filled the stat sheet in every other category.
More importantly, perhaps, is that he seems like a good guy and a winner. In stark contrast to LeBron's "Decision," Durant announced his extension with the Thunder via Twitter and released a humble statement thereafter.
On the other hand, Durant is not the best distributor, turns the ball over on occasion and has not remotely reached his ceiling as a defender. He could probably even become a better scorer too, and he's never made it out of the first round of the playoffs — though many expect such from the Thunder this year.
Then, there are the other guys. Kobe is the player of the generation and still has to be the player you'd most want on your team for a single game, and LeBron's ability to do absolutely everything on a basketball court may be without an equal in history.
Who do you think is the best in the NBA? Share your thoughts below.