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Who will be the next 'Best Player in the World'?
Current best player in the world? Lebron During Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 26, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Image courtesy: NBA Entertainment/NBA India
Lebron is pretty much accepted as the best player in the world, when it comes to basketball, for the last 4-5 years. His abilities across the board, whether its scoring, rebounding, passing or defence have been elite level since at least 6-7 years. But over the years his improvement of the intangibles is what has elevated him to the position he is in, now. His leadership, his basketball IQ, and his uncanny ability to make teammates better are what make him the unquestioned (and self-proclaimed) ‘best player in the world’. But alas, the King doesn’t have long. He has recently turned 30 and has, at the most, 3 years left in his prime. In the end, Father Time always wins. Let’s look at some candidates that could potentially dethrone the King –
Anthony Davis –
The fact that Anthony Davis just signed the biggest NBA deal ever at 5 years and 145 million speaks for itself. He is a truly generational talent. And for good reason. He finished among the top 5 in the NBA in scoring, rebounding AND blocked shots. He is an All-Star. He’s already made the All-NBA First team. He finished 5th in the MVP voting. He is an elite defender, a big man who can pound it in the post as well as shoot efficiently from mid range. And he is 22 years old. Just let that sink in. The sky is the limit for this young man. If he can improve his passing ability and develop a 3 point shot, he might just surpass Lebron James earlier than most expect.
Kevin Durant –
KD is already an offensively superior player than Lebron. While he’s not that gifted of a playmaker, his deadly accuracy from long range and vastly improved penetrating ability coupled with his ability to create his own shot off the dribble gives him the edge over Lebron. It is on the defensive end however, that KD needs to work on. He already has all the tools to achieve it. Superb athleticism coupled with an over 7 feet wingspan is enough for him to be a defensive force. Last year’s MVP will also have to improve as a leader on and off the court if he wants to considered the best player in the world.
The newly crowned NBA champion has definitely earned the right to be in the conversation of best player in the world. Just look at what he achieved this season. He won the 3 point contest, was voted an All-Star Starter, broke his own single season record for 3 pointers made, won the MVP award, set a record with most 3’s made in a single post-season and beat every single member of the All-NBA First team on the path to his first championship (Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, James Harden & LBJ). All this while being the driving factor of one of the best regular season teams in NBA history, winning 67 games. If he can improve a bit on the defensive end and crash the boards with more purpose, he will undoubtedly become the new face of the NBA.
The thought of two potential 'best players in the world' being on the same team is scary but very much possible. Russell Westbrook showed this year that he is a triple double machine, leading the league in that category with 11. His ultra competitiveness and intensity is probably higher than any player in the NBA, save Kobe Bryant. He is also one of the most quick, explosive and athletic point guards we have ever seen. He won the scoring title this season with an average of 28 points per game. If the Oklahoma City Thunder would have made the playoffs, Russell Westbrook would probably have won the MVP award over both Stephen Curry and James Harden. However, he has a notorious temper and, despite being a point guard, is a volume shooter, often taking too many ill advised shots (he took 43 shots in a game this season, and earned a technical foul in crunch time).