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View Full Version : Kenny Smith: "In three years, Durant Will be the Best Player in Basketball"



Baller1
04-24-2010, 01:43 PM
I know there's a lot of Durant/Thunder threads right now, but this is bound for some serious discussion/arguments.


Emotions ran high last night after the Oklahoma City Thunder's 101-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of their first-round Western Conference Playoffs series -- the organization's first-ever playoff win, provided you forget (as many associated with the league seem wont to) that the franchise once won an NBA championship (and employed Michael Cage's Jheri curl) as the ever-soulful Seattle SuperSonics before the NBA saw fit to take a Kathy Bates sledgehammer to the Emerald née Queen City's heart.

And it's not hard to understand why. Both OKC newcomers and old-salt pure-hearts who've long evangelized about coach Scott Brooks' young Thunder found themselves equal parts geeked up about the Broingtons' first taste of postseason success, amped about how great the Loud City crowd was, and generally just high on basketball coming off of another fantastic installment in the opening round's best series. It was, without question, the kind of moment in which otherwise rational people can get caught up.

Enter TNT commentator Kenny Smith, who said during the network's post-game show that he believes "in three years, Kevin Durant(notes) will be the best player in basketball." He said it three times, so we know he didn't misspeak. The video above proves it. This happened.

The statement, of course, drew strong responses from colleagues Charles Barkley (who quipped, "LeBron James is rolling over in his grave") and Chris Webber(notes), who predicted that in three years, Bron-Bron's going to be trying to average a triple-double for a full season, toying with contemporary basketball constructs and post-pace-adjustment-era statistical models in the way that Dr. Manhattan just sort of thought it'd be interesting to create life on Mars. (OK, I added that last part.)

With apologies to those who continue to argue that Kobe Bryant(notes) is the best player alive until James wins a ring or four, the point made by Barkley and Webber is one on which most of the basketball-watching public has come to agree -- that LeBron's showing us the athletic equivalent of Mozart putting ink to staff paper, while everybody else, even the great ones, are still merely playing basketball.



Smith aims to defend his point by reintroducing a distinction that he used earlier in the evening to make a situational pro-Kobe argument -- that while James is clearly the league's preeminent physical specimen, he is not clearly the most skilled practitioner of basketball-playing; at least, not in all facets of the game or in all possible game scenarios. Employing this tactic, also known as the "If you needed to make one shot to win the game, you'd take Kobe over everybody" line of reasoning, Smith claimed that "in three years, [Durant's] improvement with surpass [James'] because he will do other things in the game to help his team win."

(Also, I kid you not, when Kenny first made this point last night, he set up the following apples-to-oranges/LBJ-to-Kobe analogy: "You can argue over apples and oranges all day, but sometimes an orange ... it cures certain scurvy." To be fair, that's indisputable, and the primary reason that Kobe needs to be your number 1 option if you're playing pickup ball on the deck of a pirate ship out on the Sargasso Sea in the mid-18th century. You simply cannot overestimate his salvific citrus qualities.)

Listen, the prospect of how good Kevin Durant can be should excite anyone with eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that beats. He just averaged 30.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for a full season, shooting 47.6 percent from the floor, 36.5 percent from three-point land and 90 percent from the line, at the age of 21. He's a 6-foot-9-inch match-up nightmare with in-the-gym range, go-go Gadget arms that afford him clean looks over just about any defender and, as we saw last night, the ability and propensity to crash the boards (a career-high 19 rebounds, more than half of them coming in the first half while he was still struggling with his shot) and cause problems for elite players on the defensive end (putting him on Kobe late in the fourth completely changed the Lakers' fortunes). He's a beast, he's a dog, he's a micky-ficky problem.

Thing is, LeBron James is, too. While he and Durant rebound (their respective Total Rebound Rates are 11.1 and 11.0, according to Hoopdata) and block shots (both average 0.9 swats per 36 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference) at roughly the same rate, the King assists on teammates' buckets two-and-a-half times more frequently as Durant, ending 23.4 percent of possessions with a dime to KD's 9.09 percent (thanks again, Hoopdata). Plus, while it was great to see Durant check Kobe late in last night's affair, LeBron's been pulling "I got this" duty for a couple of years now. And at 25 years old himself, it ain't like James is in danger of becoming Wise LeBron anytime soon.

I don't know, dude. I can understand what Smith's saying, but to me, it seems like a tough, tough sell. But what do you think?

Does Kenny have a point? Could Kevin Durant become the best basketball player in the NBA, even while LeBron James(notes) still calls the league home? Does anybody else even enter the "in three years" picture? Weigh in down below, all the while keeping in mind just how fortunate we are that we've got futures this bright to banter.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Smith-In-three-years-Durant-will-be-the-best-?urn=nba,236321

m26555
04-24-2010, 01:50 PM
I could see it.

PC
04-24-2010, 01:50 PM
You could make a strong case for Durant, but I still think LeBron will be the best in three years

td0tsfinest
04-24-2010, 01:51 PM
I still think Lebron will be the best player for the next 5 years.

I liked what Charles said, depending on what Lebron does this off-season he could be the number one contender for a championship for the next 7 years.

Draco
04-24-2010, 01:51 PM
Doesn't interest me much that Kenny Smith made the comment. A similar idea has been expressed (as reported by Sam Smith) a year ago by some GMs around the league. Actually, I made that thread.. back then the idea had a lot less traction among fans than it does now.

RadiantShot
04-24-2010, 02:02 PM
Pretty bold statement, but it's definitely possible, and within reach, if it isn't already.

Avenged
04-24-2010, 02:05 PM
I think there's a thread on this already.

Hellcrooner
04-24-2010, 02:26 PM
if he learns to pass a bit and us his teamates and improves D it can easily happn

Toenail Clipper
04-24-2010, 02:34 PM
If Kobe becomes healthy, I'd say he's still the best, even after 3 years. But Kevin Durant better than LeBron?! Nah.

JordansBulls
04-24-2010, 02:38 PM
If Kobe becomes healthy, I'd say he's still the best, even after 3 years. But Kevin Durant better than LeBron?! Nah.

Durant can be better than Lebron especially if Lebron continues to lose with the best record in the league.

Sly Guy
04-24-2010, 02:43 PM
no, in three years I will be the world's best basketball player.

Giaps
04-24-2010, 02:48 PM
The Portland Trailblazers are rolling over in their graves right now.

King P
04-24-2010, 02:53 PM
Only if he proves his D. Any "elite" player who can't play defense is overrated IMO.

Chi City23
04-24-2010, 03:06 PM
Durant can be better than Lebron especially if Lebron continues to lose with the best record in the league.

and what if Durant doesn't win it either?? your statement made no sense.

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 03:18 PM
well, this has already come up on PSD. The fact is, LeBron was ahead of where Durant is now at that stage, due to LJ's far better court vision and distribution. Add the strength and size that has allowed LJ to become an elite defender, and I personally don't see Durant passing him as the best overall player.

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 03:19 PM
If Kobe becomes healthy, I'd say he's still the best, even after 3 years. But Kevin Durant better than LeBron?! Nah.

a 34 year old Kobe with 1300 games is going to be better than a 24 year old Durant? hahahaha, ok

Hellcrooner
04-24-2010, 03:24 PM
a 34 year old Kobe with 1300 games is going to be better than a 24 year old Durant? hahahaha, ok

the sad thing is kobe fans will stil think it and kobe will still think it and shoot as many ill advised shots as he needs to make is averages.

Bad news for Lakers sadly.

Vee-Rex
04-24-2010, 03:27 PM
Not until he improves his defense.

Not until he improves his passing.

Kobe is an amazing defender and an amazing passer. Lebron is a solid defender and an amazing passer. Durant has to achieve this to become the best in the NBA.

Also, Durant needs more of a killer instinct. I do believe he will develop it in a few years, though. There's no way Artest (or any defender) should be able to rattle him and shut him down when he's in his prime.

Reyes6
04-24-2010, 03:27 PM
I think either way History has repeated with the Sam Bowie... Portland drafting a big man bust instead of a superstar.

Players better than Durant in 3 years:
LeBron James
Carmelo Anthony
Dwight Howard (Some post moves will be developed)
Dwyane Wade
Chris Bosh


Don't get me wrong, I love Durant and had him in fantasy... so I know he's good. Best shooter in 3 years... sure, it'll be between him and Roy most likely... but certainly not best player unless LeBron and company want to play Golf since Tiger has made it Sexxy.

Purch
04-24-2010, 03:29 PM
I think either way History has repeated with the Sam Bowie... Portland drafting a big man bust instead of a superstar.

Players better than Durant in 3 years:
LeBron James
Carmelo Anthony
Dwight Howard (Some post moves will be developed)
Dwyane Wade
Chris Bosh


Don't get me wrong, I love Durant and had him in fantasy... so I know he's good. Best shooter in 3 years... sure, it'll be between him and Roy most likely... but certainly not best player unless LeBron and company want to play Golf since Tiger has made it Sexxy.
I'm curious why exactly do you think Chris Bosh will be better then Durant but not Cp3 or D-Will?

effen5
04-24-2010, 03:35 PM
I think either way History has repeated with the Sam Bowie... Portland drafting a big man bust instead of a superstar.

Players better than Durant in 3 years:
LeBron James
Carmelo Anthony
Dwight Howard (Some post moves will be developed)
Dwyane Wade
Chris Bosh


Don't get me wrong, I love Durant and had him in fantasy... so I know he's good. Best shooter in 3 years... sure, it'll be between him and Roy most likely... but certainly not best player unless LeBron and company want to play Golf since Tiger has made it Sexxy.

Is it bad that I would take Durant over Melo, and Bosh right now?


and yes Durant will be the best player in 3 years.

Reyes6
04-24-2010, 03:37 PM
It's very hard to determine the value of PG's now-a-days... CP3 and D-Will are the first tier, then Nash and Kidd (imo), then it all falls down.

I was debating CP3 and D-Will but D-Will doesn't have the knockdown jumper that Durant has and CP3 is amazing but I think he is going to hit his ceiling soon, if not already. Statistically well above, but in-game not AS influential as Bosh is with the Raptors. I think Bosh still is growing... so in 3 years, I see him as the best PF in the game.

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 03:40 PM
Not until he improves his defense.

Not until he improves his passing.

Kobe is an amazing defender and an amazing passer. Lebron is a solid defender and an amazing passer. Durant has to achieve this to become the best in the NBA.

Also, Durant needs more of a killer instinct. I do believe he will develop it in a few years, though. There's no way Artest (or any defender) should be able to rattle him and shut him down when he's in his prime.

I agree with you on his killer instinct. However, while I want to give Kobe a mulligan for his various injuries, it appears to me Durant may have passed him as an individual player at this point. It will be interesting to see how Kobe looks next season when he is back and healthy.
I think LeBron is better, and probably Wade, and Howard. Paul and Kobe would be if healthy, but they aren't.

Reyes6
04-24-2010, 03:40 PM
Is it bad that I would take Durant over Melo, and Bosh right now?


and yes Durant will be the best player in 3 years.



To each his own, I love Durant but I would take Melo over Durant and Bosh is definitely questionable. But considering Durant and Westbrook carry the Thunder and Green often disappears at the end of games like he did at Georgetown, I'd rather take the best player on the Nuggets who can share the ball better than Durant, than the best player on the Thunder who needs to carry them every night.

Ansy
04-24-2010, 03:41 PM
It's pretty unlikely. Possible obviously, but unlikely.

LeBron has reached incredibly elite status. Assuming anybody is going to be better than him is taking a bad bet, because only a handful of people in the history of the game have been better than LeBron has been over the past two years.

Giantwarrior
04-24-2010, 03:42 PM
KD is a great talent, no doubt. but i think everyone is getting carried away. KD had a great season, and one good playoff game. relax.

i think everyone said the same thing about Brandon Jennings with the 55 points.

Im sure everyone will always mention and remember that the Blazers missed out on a real Franchise player. MJ-2.0

Giantwarrior
04-24-2010, 03:45 PM
WTF, does Kenny Thomas know about Basketball? The Media makes bold statements for a reason.

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 03:47 PM
WTF, does Kenny Thomas know about Basketball? The Media makes bold statements for a reason.

well, a PG who played under Dean Smith, and won 2 championships as the PG for the Rockets is at least worth listening to, don't you think?

Avenged
04-24-2010, 03:48 PM
Kenny Thomas? :confused:

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 03:50 PM
Is it bad that I would take Durant over Melo, and Bosh right now?


and yes Durant will be the best player in 3 years.

agreed
Players I would take over Durant

LeBron


that is it, going forward. If Paul were healthy, him as well, but even then, going down the list of teams that needed a great PG to win are thinner than needing that elite scoring wing who can rebound. Dwight can be totally taken out of the offensive side of the game at times, and Kobe is too old. Melo is Durant-ish, but Durant is already as/more complete at a younger age.

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 03:51 PM
the real question is, Westbrook or Rose?

haha, sorry had to do it

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 03:52 PM
Kenny Thomas? :confused:

he meant Kenny Smith

Iodine
04-24-2010, 03:55 PM
the real question is, Westbrook or Rose?

haha, sorry had to do it

Westbrook by about 2/3'rds of a mile

Purch
04-24-2010, 03:56 PM
the real question is, Westbrook or Rose?

haha, sorry had to do it

Westbrook for me too

Avenged
04-24-2010, 03:59 PM
the real question is, Westbrook or Rose?

haha, sorry had to do it

Westbrook, no doubt!

Iodine
04-24-2010, 04:00 PM
Westbrook for me too

Purch :drool:

JasonJohnHorn
04-24-2010, 04:14 PM
durant is elite already, but he will never be the best player in the league.

Lakersfan2483
04-24-2010, 04:33 PM
I don't see Durant surpassing Lebron anytime soon. Lebron's game improves every year and I think he will continue to improve. Durant has room for improvement, however Lebron can do it all. It would take some tremendous improvements in Durant's overall game to surpass LBJ. Lebron's ability to take over a game and his court vision/feel for the game are head and shoulders above Durant.

ldc62
04-24-2010, 04:47 PM
John Wall will be.

kozelkid
04-24-2010, 04:54 PM
Durant has become an incredible scorer, but unless he can become a very good defender, an elite passer and very good rebounder, he has little chance of surpassing Lebron.
I say 2% chance he ever surpasses Lebron unless Lebron goes through a major decline. Lebron is simply too good of an all around player. He's too good of a passer and rebounder and even defender for Durant to have a chance.

Toenail Clipper
04-24-2010, 05:02 PM
a 34 year old Kobe with 1300 games is going to be better than a 24 year old Durant? hahahaha, ok

Um, check this man named Michael Jordan. Ahem

Draco
04-24-2010, 05:05 PM
Um, check this man named Michael Jordan. Ahem

Nothing to do with Kobe.

NYYCowboys
04-24-2010, 05:14 PM
LeBron is gonna be the best player for a while I think.

Raph12
04-24-2010, 05:24 PM
Considering all of the things Lebron does, idk if KD can overtake him in that sense, but he'll be in the conversation.

soonabooma
04-24-2010, 05:24 PM
I love Roses game, but I don't think I'd trade Westbrook for him.

TheHoopsProphet
04-24-2010, 05:33 PM
no, in three years i will be the world's best basketball player.

+1

Ovratd1up
04-24-2010, 05:58 PM
So exactly what does Rose have to do to prove himself? I bet it's nothing that can be done with his current supporting cast. Notice it's HIS supporting cast, while Westbrook IS Durant's supporting cast.

basketfan4life
04-24-2010, 06:00 PM
next year,kobe can turn as the best player in game,if he gets rid of his injuries,people please don't get ahead of yourselfs...before he broke that finger kobe was leagues scoring leader with 30,6 ppg,shooting %50 and leading the race to the mvp...also i take injured kobe over durant...

for me kobe,lebron,melo,howard and wade are bettterr than durant,in 3 years yes durant has a shot...

don't get too stack on stats, you know statistically howard played a poor game 3 against charlotte but changed the game completely in fourth quarter in just 8 minutes of action,i don't like it when people underestimate dwight.

xbrackattackx
04-24-2010, 06:31 PM
I have been saying this for awhile, He is a monster.

xbrackattackx
04-24-2010, 06:32 PM
next year,kobe can turn as the best player in game,if he gets rid of his injuries,people please don't get ahead of yourselfs...before he broke that finger kobe was leagues scoring leader with 30,6 ppg,shooting %50 and leading the race to the mvp...also i take injured kobe over durant...

for me kobe,lebron,melo,howard and wade are bettterr than durant,in 3 years yes durant has a shot...

don't get too stack on stats, you know statistically howard played a poor game 3 against charlotte but changed the game completely in fourth quarter in just 8 minutes of action,i don't like it when people underestimate dwight.

Kobe is amazing and great leader but in 3 years if durant doesnt get freak injuries he will be Neck and Neck with Lebron. Dwight will be 3-5 with Wade and Melo maybe even lower if CP3 and D-ron keep killing it.

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 08:17 PM
Um, check this man named Michael Jordan. Ahem


how many games did MJ have on those knees, ankles, and fingers at age 34??And how many does Kobe have??

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 08:20 PM
Um, check this man named Michael Jordan. Ahem

also, I stand corrected. By 34, Kobe will have around 1500 game-ish. MJ had around 980 at that time btw.
But a prime Durant, 600 games into his career, will be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than a 34 year old Kobe, sorry

AI4MVP
04-24-2010, 08:25 PM
i wanna seee more competitive fire in durant

Avenged
04-24-2010, 08:26 PM
next year,kobe can turn as the best player in game,if he gets rid of his injuries,people please don't get ahead of yourselfs...before he broke that finger kobe was leagues scoring leader with 30,6 ppg,shooting %50 and leading the race to the mvp...also i take injured kobe over durant...

for me kobe,lebron,melo,howard and wade are bettterr than durant,in 3 years yes durant has a shot...

don't get too stack on stats, you know statistically howard played a poor game 3 against charlotte but changed the game completely in fourth quarter in just 8 minutes of action,i don't like it when people underestimate dwight.

Kobe Bryant won't be the best player in 3 years, or next year at that. Don't be foolish. You can't base on Kobe being the best player on impact. Howard impacted the game, but his defensive stats prove it. His offense in general isn't that bad itself.

You have now made 2 posts that qualify for quote of the day, congratulations.

GspLAL
04-24-2010, 08:29 PM
I agree with you on his killer instinct. However, while I want to give Kobe a mulligan for his various injuries, it appears to me Durant may have passed him as an individual player at this point. It will be interesting to see how Kobe looks next season when he is back and healthy.
I think LeBron is better, and probably Wade, and Howard. Paul and Kobe would be if healthy, but they aren't.

I guess everyone forgot that early on in the season before all the injuries Kobe was putting up multiple 40 point games and game winners to carry the team when we had injuries, so yes it is injuries.

HuRRiCaNeS324
04-24-2010, 08:32 PM
Kenny Smith is a ****ing idiot. He talks so much garbage its ridiculous.

NYK_kidd77
04-24-2010, 08:35 PM
Not really that big a stretch

Hawkeye15
04-24-2010, 08:41 PM
I guess everyone forgot that early on in the season before all the injuries Kobe was putting up multiple 40 point games and game winners to carry the team when we had injuries, so yes it is injuries.

I said, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt due to injuries, but the fact is, Kobe needs to return to his prior level of play to reaffirm himself above Durant. Same goes for Paul over Deron or any other competition

ragee
04-24-2010, 08:49 PM
He can be... The one thing I think he really needs to improve his game on is his passing game... If he becomes a great passer as well, it will be more easier for him to score coz he will become more unpredictable...

basketfan4life
04-24-2010, 09:16 PM
Kobe Bryant won't be the best player in 3 years, or next year at that. Don't be foolish. You can't base on Kobe being the best player on impact. Howard impacted the game, but his defensive stats prove it. His offense in general isn't that bad itself.

You have now made 2 posts that qualify for quote of the day, congratulations.

which part of it is so hard to understand,i didn't say Kobe will be the best player 3 years later,are you high or something?that players i wrote are i think better than Durant NOW.and yes kobe has a chance to return as the best player if he gets rid of injuries,he was playing like the best player this year before the injuries.
i think you are the one who is being foolish.

NINER/BLAZER
04-24-2010, 09:48 PM
Kenny said it so it must be true. Why are we acting like something official was just anounced. I think Juwan Howard will be the MVP next year, lets create a thread for that

jmtapia
04-24-2010, 10:04 PM
Kenny said it so it must be true. Why are we acting like something official was just anounced. I think Juwan Howard will be the MVP next year, lets create a thread for that

i think you are missing the point that is trying to be made. Durant actually has the potential to prove Kenny right...

heathonater
04-24-2010, 10:29 PM
durant obviously has the potential to be a great player, but with lebron playing in the league and being only 28 three seasons from now, i think lebron will still hold the title as the leagues best player then.

Raps08-09 Champ
04-24-2010, 10:32 PM
With Lebron at 28?

Probably 2nd best but Lebron will still be beasting as 28.

ink
04-24-2010, 10:32 PM
I already like him a lot more than Lebron or Kobe.

Fire&Ice2&33
04-24-2010, 10:36 PM
I agree with him on that

J4KOP99
04-24-2010, 10:54 PM
Wait, LeBron is retiring at some point over the next 3 years?

BBALLGOD4
05-01-2010, 01:52 AM
Until he impacts the game in more ways than putting the ball in the hoop, he'll never be better than lebron

E.O.21
05-01-2010, 02:04 AM
Until he impacts the game in more ways than putting the ball in the hoop, he'll never be better than lebron

I agree. He is improving his defense and is a good rebounder but LB impacts the game in many more ways. IDK what kenny smith was smoking but james is only gonna get better

RipVW
05-01-2010, 02:24 AM
also, I stand corrected. By 34, Kobe will have around 1500 game-ish. MJ had around 980 at that time btw.
But a prime Durant, 600 games into his career, will be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than a 34 year old Kobe, sorry

Thats a little skewed. Kobe didnt log very many minutes his first couple of years while Jordans playd significant minutes during his first 3 years at North Carolina. I think the Jordans time at UNC offsets Kobe's early years. Where the difference is, is the years Jordan took off, which is sort of a seperate issue. The fact that Jordan was able to come back after a layoff like that without losing his edge is pretty amazing. So, in a way it helped him provided he could still play when he came back, which he could. Jordan is sort of his own category and is hard to use as a basis for comparison. You should also consider that Jordan played during the most physical era in the history of the NBA. When they made the rules changes about 5 years ago, they really took a lot of contact out of the game. In the 90s it was brutal.

comet_10
05-01-2010, 03:48 AM
durant has the potential to be the number 1 in the nba! BUT with lebron around he will be seen as the number 2 by most of the public because lebron is such an athletic, physical beast he is able to make plays no other person can do atm.

once the thunder start to develop a big man into their rotations and offense it will be interesting to see if durant can maintain his scoring within the offense as compared to lebron who is the offense.