Kevin Durant scored 50 points in the Warriors’ Game 6 win over the Clippers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Afterwards, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr made a declaration.
“He’s the best player in the world; most skilled player in the world,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke.
— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller)April 27, 2019
KD registered 29 points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal in the Warriors’Game 2 win over the Rocketsin their second-round playoff series.
“I think Kevin wants to be recognized as the best player in the world,”Kerr told Sporting Newsbefore the victory. “And I happen to think he is. Now, on our team, he doesn’t need to show it. He’s not stat crazy. He’s not a guy that chases numbers. He’s content to let other people score.
“But in the playoffs, when it’s absolutely necessary that he becomes aggressive and takes over games, this is his time to take over. And it’s when everyone is watching. And to me it’s pretty obvious watching the playoffs who the best player has been.”
Entering this season, LeBron James was pretty much universally considered the world’s best player. At this point, the title is truly up for grabs and nobody is playing better than KD.
Kerr’s comments remind us of whatEthan Strauss of The Athleticreported earlier this season:
Sources say that Durant believed his besting of LeBron James in the 2017 Finals would get him hailed as the game’s top player, a mantle he’s craved for some time … KD, who was “tired of being second” way back in 2013, was still stuck there reputationally, even in ultimate victory.
He was still behind LeBron in the eyes of pundits, basketball Twitter, and perhaps most importantly, at Nike, who’s employed Durant longer than any team. Then, the next Finals unfolded in much the same way, with much the same result, all while Warriors fans cheered loudest for the smaller MVP’s baskets.
The day after Strauss’ story was published, Durant broke his media silence and singled out Strauss personally as he spoke at the podium.
It’s unclear if the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP’s frustration was specifically directed at the above anecdote or the article in general (which was titled “Silent Star: On the presumed Warriors’ exit of Kevin Durant”)
What isn’t unclear is that if you believe KD is the best player in the world, it would be very difficult to say you are wrong.