1. KEVIN DURANT – turns 25 on September 29, 2013
If you neglect LeBron, Kevin Durant is the best player in the world right now (sorry ‘Melo, but you’re gonna have to do it for longer than a quarter season before you get to be mentioned with Durant and LeBron). Through just five seasons, Durant has three scoring titles, three All-Star nods, two second place finishes in MVP balloting, a ROY award, an All-Star Game MVP, three straight First-Team All-NBA nods, and enough hardware in his home to make most 10-year All-Stars jealous. He’s the Durantula, and if we have to go through all his accomplishments before he’s even turned 25 (he turned 24 in October), we’d need another post. And Durant isn’t just a regular season dynamo, either.
Last season, Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder (after advancing to a new round each of the past three seasons), finally made the difficult jump and came out of a tough Western Conference, defeating the San Antonio Spurs by winning four-straight games in the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs, as it’s now been forgotten, had only reeled off 20 straight wins up until that point. Did you see the fourth quarter of Game 4, when Durant took over down the stretch and evened the series at 2-2 in Oklahoma City? With 6:33 left, and San Antonio cutting the Thunder lead to 6, Durant took over like superstars are supposed to. He dropped 18 points in those final six and a half minutes, and the Thunder never looked back as they went on to their first – but probably not their last – NBA Finals appearance. If that’s not a future Hall of Fame inductee, than we don’t know what is.
Listen, if all of these players keep it up, they’ll have solid chances of being enshrined in Springfield, but Durant is only one I’d wager might have the merits even if his career ended in the next few years. That’s absurd. He’s only 24 and he’s still getting better, developing an all-around game to go with his other-worldly scoring. He’s passing better, and taking over some of the ballhandling duties with Harden’s departure. He’s getting stronger and working his butt off on the defensive end. Kevin Durant is a superstar and a future Hall of Fame member. He’s also almost a year away from his 25th birthday. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
Which young players have the highest odds of making the Hall of Fame?
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