Today on ESPN.com, scouting guru David Thorpe did an ultimate style breakdown of Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony (Insider). He rated them both in seven different categories: shooting, scoring, making teammates better, on-the-ball defense, secondary defender, rebounding and intangibles.
Durant won four of the seven categories (shooting, on-the-ball defense, rebounding, intangibles), with ‘Melo only taking one (making teammates better). They tied the other two (scoring, secondary defender). Overall, KD had a score of 48 to ‘Melo’s 44. Thorpe said this, which I found interesting:
When I started breaking down video for these guys, the first thing that jumped out was just how ordinary they both can be when they’re not in shooting/scoring mode. These guys are special players, but at this point Melo and KD are not in the class of LeBron, Kobe or Dwyane Wade as all-around talents. We constantly hear about “two-way players” or guys who “do it all,” but there are very few of those players. Still, both Anthony and Durant can, in the right situation, carry a team through the playoffs and be the best player on a championship team. That puts them in select company …
Durant, of course, is far from his peak. Yet he’s already one of the very best 21-year-olds in NBA history and better all-around than Melo, which alone is impressive. And this season Durant may finish as high as second (to LeBron) in the Most Valuable Player voting and play in a couple of playoff series. Furthermore, if he can minimize his weaknesses in future seasons while developing his strengths, it’s entirely possible that he can defeat the King for both the award and the ring.
Certainly can’t disagree with Thorpe there. I think when we look back at Kevin Durant’s career, we’ll likely view this third season as his “Leap” year. Last season, he was fantastic. He averaged 25.3 points a game on wonderful percentages. But his team only won 23 games and there was that whole plus/minus debate. Now his team is challenging for a high playoff seed and he’s one of the league leaders in plus/minus. He’s got a realistic shot at the MVP and the scoring title. And to be winning head-to-head breakdowns against Carmelo Anthony and also mentioned in a potential debate with LeBron and Kobe is, well, awesome.