You don’t need puppets to tell you that Kobe and LeBron are the two main contestants battling for the title of NBA’s Best Player. The reigning two-time MVP (LeBron) and the reigning two-time Finals MVP (Kobe) are pretty much interchangeable at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, despite what brand-new LeBron haters want to believe with LBJ going to a loaded team in Miami.
But who is the third-best player in the game? During last night’s NBA schedule unveiling on NBA TV, Kenny Smith surprised the panel by naming Kevin Durant No. 3, ahead of Dwyane Wade. Responding to the claim that Heat/Lakers on Christmas Day puts the top three players in the world on the court at the same time, Smith said, “No, I don’t agree it’s the top three. I think Kevin Durant is in the top three.” Asked who Durant would replace in the widely-accepted Kobe/LeBron/Wade trio, Smith said he’d put KD ahead of Wade.
Later in the program, Steve Kerr backed up The Jet, saying, “Durant deserves to be in the conversation as one of the
top three players in the League.”
Personally, I believe Durant is the future face of the NBA, but right now, the 21-year-old is still a notch below Wade. Until Durant can at least lead his team to a significant playoff run — like Wade has done multiple times — Wade still has the nod on him.
And while Durant is the best scorer in the NBA and one of its best shooters, Wade has a better all-around game, playing stellar defense and distributing the rock good enough to be a point guard. Durant gets buckets all night, but Wade will win games by making a block or a steal, getting a rebound, or handing off an assist, plus knocking down a game-winner.
My top five:
5. Dwight Howard
What do you think? Where should Durant rank?