Kevin Durant's outstanding performance in this year's postseason has sparked some interesting debate amongst NBA analysts.
Is KD the best player in the world right now? Many people believe so.
But, this debate can't be had without the mention of one of the league's all-time greats: LeBron James. Heading into his 19th season in the NBA, the superstar forward is still performing at an elite level.
Durant's recent performance has sparked the yet another edition of the great "KD vs. The King" debate. And according to ESPN NBA analyst Brian Windhorst, the continued debate has allowed this superstar rivalry to surpass another great debate from earlier on in James' career.
Windhorst believes LeBron's true career rival in Durant, not NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
"LeBron's great rival was not Kobe Bryant, it is Kevin Durant," he said on ESPN's
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 22, 2021
">Get Up Wednesday.
In the 2000s and early 2010s, the Kobe vs. LeBron debate dominated the NBA conversation. With Kobe in the prime of his career and LeBron emerging as the next big thing in basketball, the two battled for the title of "best in the league."
Through 12 seasons of career overlap, LeBron and Kobe played in just 22 regular season games. LeBron held a healthy lead in that series with a 16-6 count, averaging 28.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.3 assists to Kobe's 24.6, 5.0 and 5.2. The two superstars never faced off in the postseason.
The LeBron vs. Durant series on the other hand is far more intriguing. With more years of prime overlap and several iconic playoff matchups, these two have a much richer history of head-to-head conflict.
With 13 years of career overlap, KD and Bron have faced off on 35 separate occasions -- 21 times in the regular season and 14 times in the playoffs. James currently leads the series 20-15, but Durant holds a lead in the playoffs at 9-5. Their stats are nearly identical, with James logging 29.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists to Durant's 29.8, 7.3 and 4.3 in head-to-head matchups.
The two future Hall of Famers have met in three separate Finals, once with the Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City matchup in 2012 and twice more in the Cavaliers vs. Golden State era of 2016-18. Durant has the edge in head-to-head Finals victories at 2-1.