2012 Fantasy Basketball: Top 5 Forwards

LeBron James

Lebron James of the Miami Heat leads the list of the top 5 NBA Fantasy Basketball forwards.

One of my colleagues made a point to point out that Kobe Bryant wasn’t a point guard if you get my point. I apologize for the confusion, but I meant to say top 5 guards, which can be PG or SG. The same colleague also wanted to know my player name on Fantazzle, because he recently joined and claimed he wanted to make sure he knew who to beat. For all other players motivated by beating me (ha-ha I hope not many) the name is Tobinator44 and I look forward to all Fantazzle challengers. With NBA opening day looming closer I move on to my highest scoring fantasy basketball position, the Forwards. I love the fact that King James and the Durantula can potentially score me 50 a night, but I also have to realize how much they cost in salary games. They are excellent picks in limited lineup games. So here it goes, my top 5 forwards and this can be SF or PF.

Lebron James: I have to admit, this may be because of some personal bias. I am a huge King James fan. Lebron is the most prolific player in the NBA (take that Kobe fans.) His presence of the court reminds me of MJ’s presence (I know he doesn’t have all the rings, but he will.) For daily fantasy players he is a promise of 25 pts and 10/10 rebounds/assists, for me he is a promise of NBA greatness!

Kevin Durant: The Durantula is sick. The guy is crazy good and he rivals the fantasy power of the King himself.  The guy just recently put up 44 in a preseason game, along with points in each fantasy category. He will average exactly the same as Lebron, but will run you a pretty penny in all salary leagues. He will score, but will he be worth the price in anything but limited lineup leagues.

Blake Griffin: Griffin is the greatest dunker of all time. Big statement, but the guy dunked over a car and he makes the Sports Center Top 10 daily. Griffin is in the teens in points and rebounds every night. He solidifies the term double double. I have to take him just because of the alley’s he gets from Chris Paul. He will be a little less pricey and a better option in salary leagues. Read more…

Ménage à Trois: The NBA’s love triangle

Don’t worry, my loyal readers, this isn’t some kind of actual weird love triangle with NBA players, where Chic-Fil-A fans will burst into my house and ‘teach me a lesson’.  Instead, this ‘Love Triangle’ in the NBA is the top three teams trying to win my affection and eventual choice as the favorites going into the NBA season a couple of months away.

Those three teams are, of course, the defending NBA Champions the Miami LeBrons Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and after stealing Dwight Howard away from the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Think of it like the Bachelorette finale (shameless way of getting girls attention to keep reading), I went on three different dates and met the players and the families a.k.a. the Front Office’s of the three teams, but who did I give my final rose to?

Seeing as I’m getting older, I wanted to feel young again so my first encounter was with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They took me out to the only bar in Oklahoma City and tried liquoring me up to get me to give it up. (It being the rose, get your mind out of the gutter!). I enjoyed my time with them, they have a young nucleus with Kevin Durant, turns 24 next month, Russell Westbrook, turns 24 a month into the season, and James Harden, turns 23 this month.  Durant is the biggest mismatch in the NBA standing at 6’11 as small forward, or the 3, and has in the gym range.  The Thunder were the favorites after defeating the Spurs in the Western Conference Championship, but got caught up by their lack of experience and LeBron realizing he’s the best player since Michael Jordan, and evolving like he’s a Pokemon character.  But with this team getting older, more mature, and simply getting better they made a strong argument for the final rose.

Next up, I took my talents to South Beach..(I had to.)  LeBron, a limping DWade and a still dapper and great-haired Pat Riley picked me up from the airport in LeBron’s Mom’s Hummer, I didn’t appreciate their lack of love for the ecosystem, but I was impressed.  After wining and dining me all night, the master negotiator, Riley, made his pitch on why they deserved my final rose.  The aforementioned greatest player since Jordan, LeBron James, figured out how to play as their point forward, Wade is now his Scottie Pippen, and they signed the greatest three-point shooter ever, Ray Allen, while also signing Rashard Lewis, one of the most overpaid athletes of all-time, but he has one job – hit threes.  The Heat will keep playing the Oregon offense in the fast-break, while posting up LeBron and putting 4 shooters around him, not to mention they are the best defensive team in the league.  Nice job Pat. Read more…

Kevin Durant and past 2nd overall picks

kevin durant 300x203 Kevin Durant and past 2nd overall picks

In sports you always learn that if you don’t finish first, you finish last. When you get drafted first overall, you get the money, but you also have the most pressure on you to succeed. If not you go down in history as a huge failure or what we call a bust. People forget about who was drafted second overall. Lets take a look back ten years and see where they are now.

2001- Tyson Chandler drafted by the Clippers but traded to Chicago. Averaging 8.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He is known for his defense around the rim and most recently won a championship in Dallas. He left via free agency to the Knicks where he is currently chasing after another ring.

2002- Jay Williams drafted by Chicago stayed in the League only a year, because of a horrible motorcycle accident where he suffered serious injuries. He was never able to overcome those injuries, even though in his brief stint he showed promise.

2003- Darko Milicic drafted by Detroit currently averaging 5 points, 4 rebounds a game for Minnesota. Yes, he is still in the league and he was starting for the Wolves before a recent injury. Now he finds himself riding the pine once again and probably will not be in the league much longer. Read more here…

Are the 2012 NBA finals good versus evil?

LeBron JamesThe annual NBA passion play is about to start. I’m talking, of course, about the NBA Finals. This years version has Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh reprising their role as villains and Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook will step in as the basketball savior.

The story goes something like this: the Heat are the basketball equivalent of the Death Star, wreaking havoc throughout the NBA Universe. If they are allowed to win an NBA title all hell will break loose and their reign of terror will last forever. Everything that is good and holy is at stake.

The Miami Heat has assembled a team of mercenaries with a singular focus: bring a title home to the Evil Empire…I mean South Beach. They have stockpiled a team of supreme talent fragile egos that has been the scourge of the NBA. The OKC Thunder, on the other hand, has quietly built a championship-caliber the old-fashioned way, through the draft and nurturing young talent.

It’s a classic tale of good and evil, right and wrong. Read more here…

NBA Finals preview: Thunder/Heat

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant and Russell WestbrookThe dream matchup any basketball fan could imagine is here. The small market, built from within, Oklahoma City Thunder battle the Miami Heat; a team that has reached their glory in a slightly different manner. Stars will be all over the court. Both teams have at least three stars, and a point can be made to both teams having two superstars. Each player has their own unique talent which makes them great, and both teams absolutely thrive in the open court.

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (2) Miami Heat

The two-seeds have prevailed in their respective conference, and in route to doing so, both teams completed the task in their own respective way.  Read more…

Seattle fans ache while Oklahoma City celebrates

Seattle SuperSonics

The Oklahoma City Thunder are Western Conference champions.  OKC fans are ecstatic with joy that finally they won the Western Conference Finals and were not the runner-up. Many NBA fans think the OKC are favorites to win the NBA Finals. I am right there with them. I don’t think Miami can beat them, and that’s what makes it so painful. Not just painful to me but painful to any Seattle Super Sonics fan. Painful to any sports fan in Seattle.

I became a Seattle sports fan in 2004 the year the Seahawks won the NFC West championship. I started following the Hawks like crazy, reading up on every player they had, and learning about the history of the Seattle Seahawks. Amazingly, one year after I became a fan they went to the Super Bowl. Imagine my excitement that 2005 season watching my hawks under the leadership of Mike Holmgren and the MVP running of Shaun Alexander crush the opposition. It seemed to me like they would just walk all over the Steelers and I would get to watch the first Seattle sports team since the 79 Supersonics to win a title. Sadly, they didn’t win. As a huge Seahawks fan I’m not going to say that Super bowl was legitimate in any way. Because to this day I believe the refs completely changed the outcome of that game in every possible way. I’m still a little bitter about it. But I thought with how good my Seahawks were they would be back to the Super Bowl in no time. I was so ignorant.

Soon after I started following the Seahawks I started following the Mariners and the Sonics. I love the Mariners but there so painful to watch and the fact that the didn’t win the World Series in 2001 makes me depressed so I try not to invest as much emotion into them as I do the Seahawks. I constantly find myself failing at that. The Sonics on the other hand had won a title. The only one in Seattle history besides a Stanley Cup almost a hundred years ago that no one cares about. Yea they sucked when I started watching them, but they had a certain swagger about them that drew me in. I felt that they were only a few good draft choices away from being good again. I was right.

When Kevin Durant came to town I felt that we were almost ready to really compete again. Well, we weren’t. We finished 20-62. But KD won rookie of the year and we had the 4th pick in the draft so i was pumped. Of course, by this time it looked like the Sonics were guaranteed to leave. I thought everything would work itself out. It didn’t. Bennett stole the Sonics, planted them in Oklahoma City and watched as they started to dominate.

Seattle is a town aching for a title. It’s desperate for a banner to hang in one of its stadiums. When Clay Bennett toke the team he also took our championship trophy and banner. He took all of our retired numbers. He took our history. And now OKC is about to take the thing Seattle has wanted since 1980. A championship. I am not a Heat fan by any means, but i am going to root hard for them. If OKC wins, me and a lot of other Sonic fans will ache.

Victor Moore is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at VMoore@TheSportsBlitz.com

2012, the beginning of the Kevin Durant era

Kevin DurantIn 2-0 hole, with the San Antonio Spurs looking to be in complete control of the Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant looked to be dead in the water. But, in Game 3, the 20 game win streak of the Spurs ended, and flickering light of the Thunder all of a sudden shined bright. When it came down to money time in Game 4, Kevin Durant seized the moment scoring 18 of his 36, in the final period. Now, with a 3-2 lead, the young and gunning Thunder are only one game away from a finals birth. There’s no question who they will be looking to, to bring it home, Kevin Durant.

These 2012 playoffs have really highlighted the NBA’s new premier scorer when the game is on the line. He’s come up with nothing but pure gold in these late game situations. From the game winners in Game 1 versus  Dallas and game 2 against the Lakers. To the daggers in the heart for the San Antonio. KD has been nothing short of superb this year. While LeBron has the regular season MVP, don’t be surprised if Durant walks away with the real gold. In today’s NBA it seems like the only thing that counts is what happens in the last two minutes of the game, and Durant is taking each of those moments, and putting his stamp on them.

If the Oklahoma City Thunder do win these series, and indeed capture their first NBA championship, there’s no doubt who will be responsible. Yes, he does have an awesome supporting cast with the likes of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, not to mention a pair of great rim defending bigs in, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, but it’s about closing. Kevin Durant is without a doubt the best in the league when the game is on the line. It’s only going to be a matter of time until this group grabs their first championship. They might not have to wait very long.

Zach Leiken is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at ZLeiken@TheSportsBlitz.com

Will Durant win a championship before Lebron?

7158195357 1d533d3230 Will Durant win a championship before Lebron?Kevin Durant is doing the unexpected, beating the San Antonio Spurs. Just about everyone including myself thought that the Spurs would have no issues beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five to six games at least. Now the series is going the Thunder’s way, where they can close out the series and advance to the Championship tomorrow night.

Lebron James has a good chance to win as well but the Miami Heat must first get past the crafty Boston Celtics and I’m not sure that will happen. With the series tied at 2-2 it’s anyone’s series but with the Celtics winning the last two they definitely have the momentum.

I’ve heard all kinds of skepticism about Lebron winning a ring finally, most agree that before he retires he will win one. At what cost? Lebron not only scorned most of his die-hard fans to join a loaded team and take a short cut to win the championship. Durant on the other hand has been a class act and has been patient with his franchise, while they have built a team the right way. Adding pieces through the draft instead of spending money to get big names, the Thunder has given the NBA a true blue print of how to build a contender. Read more here…

Thunder looking to shut the saloon door in Game 6

James HardenOne more win. One more victory. On more triumph over the mighty San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder are, as Keanu Reeves would say, “headed to the ‘ship”.

The streaking Thunder have a new-found confidence that they can indeed beat the savvy, battle-tested-over-a-decade Spurs by spacing the floor and sticking defensive stalwart Thabo Sefolosha on the uber talented Tony Parker. According to the playoff statistics on NBA.com, Parker shoots a paltry 27 percent from the field when the Swissman covers him, and 49 percent when he doesn’t. Clearly coach Scott Brooks is on to something defensively.

When Parker cannot effectively initiate the offense like in Games 4 and 5, the Spurs enter an offensive tailspin due to their lack of ball-handling play-callers to fill in at the other guard spot and alleviate the pressure on Parker. Ginobli and Duncan can’t get the ball in their preferred spots as the always fluid Spurs offense coagulates quickly. Clearly, Sefolosha’s slowing of the fleet-footed Frenchman will be another important factor for the Thunder, win or lose.

Parker’s backcourt foil,Russell Westbrook, operated like a true point guard to highlight another crucial victory for Oklahoma City in Game 5. When Westbrook shares the ball on offense, he makes everyone more effective. The speedy dribble drives and hesitation moves freed-up shots for gunners like Daquan Cook, Sefolosha, and of course, James Harden. The mercurial guard keyed the Thunder’s success by dishing out twelve assists, continuing his aggressive shot selection, and forcing the Spurs to pick their poison: let him shoot, let him pass, or let him drive.

The basketball community knows that Durant is going to put 30 every night, pull down 8-10 boards, and dish out 5-7 dimes; it’s the playoffs and superstars, at least ones not named LeBron, always deliver in the postseason. If Westbrook can participate in the offense, instead of breaking it, and if Thabo can continue defensive his mastery of Parker, the Thunder should take Game 6 at home.

Eric Eulau is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted at EEulau@TheSportsBlitz.com

NBA Western Conference Finals: Spurs v Thunder

James Harden

There are several certainties when it comes to this powerhouse matchup in the West. These aren’t only the two most complete teams in the Western Conference, but in the entire league. There are stars all over the floor for both teams, and both squads are coming into this series firing on all cylinders. This matchup will be fascinating to watch, and if it doesn’t go at least six games, I’d be absolutely shocked.

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs (2) Oklahoma City Thunder

As far as predictions go, I’ve been thinking about this matchup ever since the Thunder had the Lakers down 3-1 in their series.Not even close. In my mind, one of two outcomes will happen. Either the series goes seven games and because the Spurs will be at home, and are the veteran team, they’ll have the advantage and win in seven. Or, the Thunder steal a game in San Antonio, defend their home court, and win the series in six at home before a daunting game seven can occur. 

Read more here…

Random thoughts on the NBA Playoffs so far, looking ahead

After watching the Clippers outscore the Spurs by 22 points in the first quarter of Game Three of their playoff series, it appeared, if ever so briefly, that San Antonio was not as invincible as everyone thought.  Then we saw them retaliate with a 50-17 run of their own and realized, perhaps they are.

At only 23 years old each, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are disturbingly good.  The Los Angeles Lakers had to play their very best just to be able to stay on the same floor as them.  The future of the league is in good hands.

Read more here…

Durant’s winning shot: The elder passes his torch

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

Game knotted up with under thirty seconds to go, Durant calmly receives a pass and crossover. Across him stands Ron Artest, one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders and perhaps the strongest player in the league, as Durant serenely crosses over. He takes one dribble, sizes up, and drains the go-ahead three pointer to seal Game 3 for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As Gasol, Bynum, and Artest stare at the replay, watching their father’s title hope fade in the distance. Lost to too many minutes, too many late night shoot arounds in the gym, lost to years of being the hardest player to ever play in the NBA.

Durant turns to Kobe after the game; the elder recognizes his time passing, and his title of best clutch player in the game with it. He realizes it’s only natural, the passing of time, a method of chronologically, dividing men and their contributions to their craft. The legend knows he has a few years left in him, but no year as productive as its former. The young superstar smiles as he carves his legacy on the very hardwood of his present foil. He stands on the crest of greatness, titles to be had, frustrated teams with hotheaded stars to beat, and a history to build.

The young man knows that his comrades remain the strongest and most cohesive group of twelve soldiers that one can assemble. He smells Florida, suddenly blocked by another aged western force with terrible power. With the abatement of his Floridian enemy, the only equal opponent left on the battlefield between he and his title was a great Texan general with the most efficient army.

Eric Eulau is an NBA Writer for The Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted at EEulau@TheSportsBlitz.com.


The next great NBA rivalry may be upon us

Magic versus Bird, Russell versus Chamberlain, Jordan versus everybody else.  These are the rivalries that molded the National Basketball Association into what it is today.  It’s why so many fans resented LeBron when he decided he’d rather play with his best friend instead of eking it out on his own. But fear not, NBA fans.  We may be on the verge of another great rivalry.  If franchise owners play their cards right, these two teams could dominate the league for years to come. I’m not talking LeBron versus Kobe.  That’s a Finals matchup we have yet to see. It can’t be LeBron-Carmelo.  Even though they entered the league in the same year, LeBron is showing us he’s a far more dominant player. Read more here…

NBA playoffs preview: Thunder, Northwest Division

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant and Russell WestbrookFrom the prospective of a Game of Thrones junkie, the NBA’s Northwest Division resembles a tyrannical nation-state ruled by two young legendary Oklahoma City Thunder war generals on a quest for greatness, without an equal to stop them. They tower over their opponents and crush all who defy their rule (except the Washington Wizards). But alas, all is not lost; the nations of Utah and Colorado could have a large role in stopping Oklahoma.

The Thunder (39-12,1st in the West) have an ironclad, eleven and a half game lead on the Denver Nuggets (29-24, 7th in the West) and the Utah Jazz (28-26, 9th in the West). Boltsquad will take the Northwest Division crown, but there’s a high probability that their first round opponent will be a familiar and gritty foe.

Both the Nuggets and Jazz will be tough outs in the playoffs and it’s no secret why: they both possess deep and balanced rotations with unselfish players that just want to win. The prospects of either team winning the NBA Finals are slim, but they have the firepower to run with any team in the West for seven tough games, possibly pull it out, and while absolutely exhaust the opposing team. Even if they don’t win, they’ll have an impact on the playoff picture. Here’s the storyboard for each Northwest team the rest of the season and playoffs, from the bottom of the table, to the top.

Portland Trailblazers (25-29, 11th in the West)

 With Nate McMillan out, along with Gerald Wallace, the front office is banking heavily on the performances of LaMarcus Aldridge, Raymond Felton, and Jamaal Crawford to keep them afloat. The Trailblazers have beaten some quality opponents, but they needed G-Force, coupled with a productive Felton to really make a run. Management shook up the roster out of frustration with McMillan’s grind-it-out style of play and his inability to consistently get the offense firing. Portland’s management has committed to rebuilding around Aldridge and letting every current Blazer know that they’re auditioning for a spot on next year’s team.

Bottom Line: No playoff berth, and a draft pick in the 10-20 range that will be used wisely. Another season of mediocrity will be on its way unless the right pieces are acquired this summer.

Minnesota Timberwolves (25-30, 12th in the West)

Minnesota’s record in no way represents the amount of talent on the roster. Losing wunderkind Ricky Rubio for the season was the end of their playoff hopes, but Kevin Love has been doing everything in his power to keep his team relevant. Leading the league in 30 point-20 rebound games and averaging 31 points and 14 rebounds for the month of March put to rest any questions on who the franchise cornerstone was.

Bottom Line: Barring Michael Beasley playing out of his mind down the stretch, the Timberwolves will be watching the playoffs from their couches. With Rubio returning next year and a top twenty draft pick in sight, the Timberwolves will be a tough out in the 2013 playoffs.

Utah Jazz (28-26, 9th in the West)

 Give some credit to Ty Corbin, he could have complained at the lack of star power on the roster, but instead utilized what he had to continue the franchise’s storied success. The Jazz have beaten the Miami Heat, Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers this year and have established their identity as a gritty squad that can punish you in the low-post or spread you out. They’re far from invincible with a couple of hiccup games here and there, but the foundation for success is there. The building blocks are quietly in place, with Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson,Devin Harris, and Gordon Hayward truly buying into what Corbin is selling. Both Millsap and Jefferson are heavily underrated as scorers and rebounders, the latter of which allows Utah’s speed guys to get open on the break and do some damage.

Bottom Line: An overachieving Houston Rocket’s squad will fall back to earth down the stretch, leaving the door open for a seven or eight seed for Utah. If the Thunder draw the Jazz first round, look for the series to go to six or seven games and sap a lot of energy from the Thunder.

Denver Nuggets (29-24, 7th in the West)

Who would have guessed that Carmelo Anthony’s former team is doing better than his current team? The star-less Nuggets have embraced their identity and utilized their deep roster to keep fresh legs on the floor. Head Coach George Karl’s deep rotations create advantageous mismatches, and with Ty Lawson running the show, the Nuggets score at a torrid pace. The agile Lawson allows Denver to keep up with much stronger low-post oriented teams by running the break and constantly pushing the pace. Danilo Galinari’s injury plagued season and the trading of Nené have heaped some extra losses on an otherwise competitive team.

Bottom Line: The Nuggets will most certainly make the playoffs and could really challenge the likes of the Spurs, Lakers, and Thunder in whatever round they meet. However, if Galinari isn’t up to speed when he returns, the offense will sputter and an early exit is certain. If Denver’s offense is running and the defense gains some tenacity, they can win a seven game series against anyone. The Thunder need to watch them closely.

Oklahoma City Thunder (40-13, 1st in the West)

The Thunder have benefited greatly from a shortened season by keeping their structure homogenous with last year’s and not having to adjust to new players or personnel. The combination of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden has, on a nightly basis, proved to be too much for most teams. The defense of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins is the perfect complement to the aforementioned scoring trio’s offensive prowess. Although the defense is not where Head Coach Scott Brook’s would like it to be, it has steadily improved throughout the year and will be effective in the playoffs.

Bottom Line: This seems to be the perfect year for the Thunder to put it all together and take home the championship. However, anything short of the winning the Larry O’ Brien trophy will be a disappointment for the fans and players. On the plus side, the Thunder have two superstars signed long-term, both of which are only 23, and are committed to winning a championship together.

Eric Eulau is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted at EEulau@TheSportzBlitz.com.

Why Kevin Durant is better than LeBron James

Kevin Durant

Kevin DurantUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you know that the Oklahoma City Thunder (37-12, 1st in the West) absolutely smashed the Miami Heat(35-12, 2nd in the East) at home yesterday. Granted, the game was at home for Boltsquad, but if you watched that game two things became apparent: the Thunder will seriously challenge the Heat, or anyone for that matter, for the championship and that the Durantula is better than the Akron Hammer because of intangibles.

Yes, LeBron does have two MVP’s and a scoring title to Durant’s zero MVP’s and two scoring titles, but Durant clearly has had more team success than LBJ did in his first five years with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A revolving carousel of overrated sidekicks that always fell short of expectations dominated LeBron’s tenure in Cleveland: Carlos Boozer, Delonte West, Larry Hughes, Mo Williams, Shaq, etc. LeBron carried the Cavs to one NBA Finals, in which the Spurs swept them. The disappointing NBA Finals marks the only Eastern Conference title that LBJ won while in Cleveland. Although LeBron was always the best player on the floor, he routinely lost to more balanced teams(Magic, Celtics, and Pistons) because he lacks the killer instinct to take over in the fourth quarter and dominate the game when it matters most. LBJ thrives on absolutely obliterating teams in the regular season, winning the MVP, and then losing in the playoffs because he just can’t seal the deal. LeBron’s mental toughness is that of a varsity star. He’s selfish, ringlessly egotistical, and his sense of entitlement could dwarf that of some LA-Valley trust fund babies. He tries to please everyone, which results in reinventing his image after every self-induced summer media hell storm. LeBron is all about attention all the time. The Decision? Really?

If Kobe is the Black Mamba then LeBron is the Mocha Kitty, he does amazing things when it doesn’t matter and can rarely be found when it does matter. He’s mentality as a distributor and aversion to being called selfish hampers his ability to be aggressive in the fourth quarter. See 2011 NBA Finals for examples.  In the end, LeBron’s fourth quarter playoff ineptitude is what motivated him to take his talents to South Beach because he needed a playoff closer, Wade, to win the title for him.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Kevin Durant has quietly grown into a better superstar than LeBron could ever be. KD has been humble since he came into the league as a SuperSonic and committed to the franchise 100%. The drafting of Russell Westbrook most certainly contributed to that but, if LeBron had stayed in Cleveland, surely either ‘Melo, CP3, Howard, Bosh or another NBA superstar would have signed on to finally bring the Cavs a title. Instead, LBJ abandoned Cleveland via The Decision. Durant’s possible free agency ended that same summer when he quietly signed a long-term extension, well before the deadline, and then convinced Westbrook to do the same this past year.  It seems doubtful that LeBron was calling Boozer in 2003 and saying, “ He dude, you should stay! I know we were close but if we work our butts off, we could win a title together!”  LeBron didn’t really seem to care about the departure of Boozer because LBJ knew that his departure meant more statistics for The King, and he’s all about statistics.

Durant is undoubtedly the team leader for the Thunder, something one cannot state about James and the Heat. KD wants the ball in his hands for the final shot, whereas LeBron would rather pass it twice in a row (check this year’s All-Star game) with a championship on the line.

Kevin Durant’s demeanor and work ethic will publicly vault him ahead of LeBron as the game’s best player soon enough. Once people realize how Durant has committed to building a new franchise and developing young players, fixed his three-point shot, and made everyone around him better, he will gain the respect he deserves. LeBron’s career stats are slightly better than Durant’s, but Durant’s first five years are as good, if not better, than LeBron’s first five years. Durant is still very young, approaching his prime whereas LeBron is already in his prime, with zero rings.  Durant has been better groomed by past coaches and influences to be the consummate leader and a humble man. He resigned with the Thunder out of loyalty and respect for the franchise. No press conference and no media circus, just a personal tweet from his account, @KDTrey5.

Eric Eulau is an NBA Writer for The Sports Blitz.  You can contact him at EEulau@TheSportsBlitz.com