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Durant says he "doesn't think he's on LeBron's level."

Sep 27, 2010, 5:18 PM EST

Thumbnail image for durant_team_usa.jpg

At some point, LeBron/Durant debates are going to become inevitable, but one man thinks it’s a bit early to start comparing LeBron and Durant in earnest — Kevin Durant.
At Thunder media day, Durant was succinct when asked about James, saying “I don’t think I’m on LeBron’s level. I’m working to get there, but I’m not there yet.” (Hat tip to Royce Young of Daily Thunder for the quotes.) 
The characteristically humble and understated Durant also had some kind things to say about the controversial Heat forward off the court, saying that “LeBron is a great player, but one thing people don’t realize is that he might be a better person.” 
James averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game last season. Durant averaged 30.1 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, and 2.8 assists per game. 
  1. Rick C - Sep 27, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Kevin Durant is one class act, and a helluva basketball player as well. LeBron is a freak of nature, an unbelievable talent and athlete. We are lucky to be around to watch them play! I think that Durant can make his eam better than they would be, that might be the most significant difference, whereas LeBron’s teammates would probably pay to watch him perform!

  2. lbj - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    Rick C -I agree with the first things you said…but then you said durant can make his team better. Didn’t LeBron lead a 66-win season with Old Z, Varejao, Mo, and Delonte? That’s pretty incredible. Durant has some pretty nice pieces around him.. oh yeah LeBron does too now. Both guys should have an awesome year.

  3. hnirobert - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    I love LBJ but the skies the limit for Durant. I would love to see OKC continue to develop and eventually build into a championship caliber team.

  4. Eric Baker - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    KD is going to be the player we all hoped LBJ would turn into.

  5. Jim E - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    Yes Durant is a very classy act humble and appreciative. He is even kind enough to says a good thing about a fellow athlete getting kicked around. Here’s hoping he wins and stays that way. LeBron started that way – mature beyond his age. Hats off to Durant.

  6. Dan - Sep 27, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Kevin Durant is a better player than LeBron. PERIOD.
    1. Durant has a much better jump shot. He is a pure shooter, pure scorer. Unstoppable and efficient scorer. Lebron will never be a good shooter, he dribbles the ball all the time so ofcourse he will socre some. But Dont forget its been 7+ years and I dont think Lebron has gotten better at all.
    2. Durant knows that he is a scoring small forward and plays that way… does not try to be a point guard, shooting guard, power forward, point forward. Lebron will never be great because he thinks he is the best 1,2,3 and 4 of all time. Take the ball out of Bron Brons hand he will be lost. Just watch this year. Miami will be OH SO BOOTY THIS YEAR!!! MARK MY WORDS. M not hating just stating.
    3.Durant would NEVER walk off the court and not shake the other team hand in a tough battle. He respects the game. Lebron does not.

  7. c.k. - Sep 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    durant and james are both fantastic players in their own way..i dnt knock james for going to da heat..if dats wat he feels has to be done to win a championship den hell let the times roll….but the road to da ship goes thru L.A..

  8. jack - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    come on man lets be real…if thats the way you think you just need to shoot your self honestly

  9. Gwaarin - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    I wonder if OKC would be willing to trade us(Portland) Oden for Durant straight across? I wish we could do the draft over again.

  10. Jared - Sep 28, 2010 at 2:52 AM

    Dan, besides dating men, what do you do to fill your spare time? So according to point #3, one player is a better player than another because they shake hands? Is this a constant man-to-man contact thing that is apparently really important to you? Durant is a great scorer, but at this point that is all he is really GREAT at. Lebron’s statistics (facts) speak for themselves. If you are averaging 8 boards and 9 assists a game, to go with 28 points, I would say that speaks of a extremely efficient player. Lebron is #2 is PER, Jordan #1. All-time, all players in NBA history. But let’s not let facts get in the way of determining who is better, let’s let our ‘feelings’ (also apparently important to you) determine it.

  11. Mikaila - Sep 28, 2010 at 4:11 AM

    I think the obsession with PER and stats and fantasy basketball has inflated LeBron’s status. No denying the man is one of the most skilled ballers around, but to proclaim him the greatest merely because of his all-around stats is ridiculous. Oscar Robertson had superior all-around stats too, but I don’t consider him one of the top ten players of all time. I consider LeBron his spiritual descendant: versatile, stat-stuffing players who can do a lot of things, but lacking that certain something that makes them all-time Magic/Bird/Jordan-type legends. Outside of that WCF demolishing of the Pistons, nothing LeBron has done has struck me as epically great.

  12. Mikaila - Sep 28, 2010 at 4:18 AM

    Wow, Jared, accusing strangers on the internet of dating men because they disagree with you! Very mature! Something tells me you feel the need to defend your boy LeBron because he’s won you a lot of games in your fantasy league. That might explain why you point solely to efficiency and all-around stats to argue his superiority.
    Frankly, I think the obsession with PER and stats and fantasy basketball has inflated LeBron’s status. No denying the man is one of the most skilled ballers around, but to proclaim him as one of the greatest merely because of his all-around stats is ridiculous. Oscar Robertson had superior all-around stats too, but I don’t consider him one of the top ten players of all time. I consider LeBron his spiritual descendant: versatile, stat-stuffing players who can do a lot of things, but lacking that certain something–I dunno, drive, leadership, mystique, those kind of intangibles–that makes them all-time Magic/Bird/Jordan-type legends. Outside of that WCF demolishing of the Pistons, nothing LeBron has done has struck me as epically great.

  13. David - Sep 28, 2010 at 5:57 AM

    I think it’s hard to argue that Durant is better than LeBron right now. The two are basically identical when it comes to scoring prowess and they rebound excellently for their positions.
    LeBron is better because he’s so far ahead of Durant as a passer. That aspect of their game isn’t even close. Durant will score a lot for himself. So will LeBron. But LeBron’s floor vision allows him to involve everyone else.
    I would take Dwyane Wade over Durant for the exact same reason. Wade’s passing skills are almost at LeBron’s level and he’s the same type of scorer.

  14. David - Sep 28, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    The “special something” that Bird, Magic, and Jordan had that LeBron hasn’t had (until this year) is called hall of fame teammates.
    Bird had Parish, McHale, and DJ. Magic and Kareem and Worthy. Jordan had Scottie and, later on, Rodman.
    The best teammate LeBron ever had in Cleveland was Mo Williams. I seriously doubt that Bird, Magic, or Jordan would have had success either if their best teammate was Mo Williams.
    With the Heat, LeBron is almost guaranteed a championship over the next 5 years now that he too has two future hall of famers at his side. Multiple titles is not out of the question. Once that happens, his legacy will be secure.
    Cleveland, meanwhile, is expected by many to miss the playoffs. What does that say about the quality of talent that was in Cleveland last year outside of LeBron?

  15. mac - Sep 28, 2010 at 8:09 AM

    You make some good points about the lack of talent in Cleveland in recent years but last year was different. A lot of experts pointed at how strong their roster is (only to radically change their mind when the Cavs lost). They were a very good defensive team with a lot o good outside shooters, good to great role players and a superstar (kinda like the Bulls, although no equivalent of Scottie Pippen)and they were playing in a weaker conference. They were destroying their opponents in the regular season, had great time having fun with their dancing and acquired a 20/10 forward for nothing. It’s only their fault that the offense was too Lebron-centric, that they basically made Jamison a jump shooter, that their superstar seemingly lost interest in the midst of a seven game series.
    I didn’t criticize LeBron when he lost a year before that and in earlier years but this year it was all on LBJ and the Cavs team.

  16. Luki - Sep 28, 2010 at 8:24 AM

    Probably Durant is not better player yet then Lebron but he is special one. He remind me a little of MJ. I also thougth about Lebron skills as amazing but someone notice that his passing is more a pass to get assist not to get people around you better. I think is self centred person as much as his play is.
    Durant wants to win he does everything to win… I cannot say same about Lebron.
    Some say he had weak support cast MO , Z, Jamison its for sure not top notch but why they ranked first in wins all season. So its support cast was not so bad to actually win in regular season.
    I would say regular seson is more about support players and playoffs is more about “go to players”. And Lebron falled short few times there. Problem is that he is not MJ type of player he is Pippen type of player. Not sure if better then Pippen thouth. Nba now is really weak compare to what it was before. So that is why Lebron was mistaken for being MJ.
    If you want to see players like MJ look at Durant and Wade they are this type of players who finish games. Kobe is also I just dont like him..:D because what nobody notice that he is underachiver for some many years he has very good support cast he has killer instinct he just cannot make other better
    Sorry for my bad english;] not native language.

  17. Brandan - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    @Kilo Wow I’m happy I finally find someone who agrees in my point that Wade and Kobe are more Jordanesque than LBJ. Although he is an exeptional player I compare him more with Magic. A good efficient performer highlight creating player.
    @Mikaila I even feel bad for saying this cause you seem to have some knowledge about basketball. But youvare wrong in your judgement methods. LBJ is one of the greatest players ever born, even while he is just 25. Stats are the way you determine who is better player, rings just are an extra or an accomplishment that makes your career look better, Rings are something that lean on team effort and not one sole player.
    @Dan The statement you have about LBJ not becoming better at all invites me to ask: Where you been these last 6 years after LBJ’s rookie season?
    a) an expedition in Tibet
    b) Journey to the Center of the Earth
    c) in Year 1492 traveling from Spain to Boriquen after finding the car from “back to the future”
    d) in a ave in Mars with rocks on your ears.
    On Topic: I love Durant’s humble personality and maybe that is what makes him better and better cause he always find a motivation. OKC for me altogether with the Heat and the Magic are the team of the future, not only Durant’s is getting better,but the cast around him, Westbrook, Green, Ibaka, Sefolosha are very good too,and better by the minute. Not letting out Harden wHo did very good in his rookie season. LeBron vs Durant’s? I think LeBron still have the advantage of passing, but Durant as you saw in this summer has been growing as a distributor and defender and if he continue the way he s evolving it will be a matter of time for him to take over the league.
    Cavaliers doing good in Regulas Season but performing poor in Playoffs?
    Pretty much that happens cause the Cavs strategy works when their defense and athletic capabilities can surprise you, but in the playoffs, when you have time to adapt to a team and plan a colder strategy is when their weaknesses are exposed.

  18. Sguy2130 - Sep 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    I agree, nobody is on Lebron’s level, and I don’t see Durant ever coming up to the level of Lebron’s douchebaggery, not the way he carries himself.

  19. Mikaila - Sep 28, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    @Sguy2130
    Oooh, burn. Yet true.
    @Brandan
    I’m sorry, but I cannot agree with your standards of greatness. By that caveat, Wilt Chamberlain should be the greatest basketball player there was. But I can’t. He won just one title, and I will always remember the free throws he bricked before Havlicek stole that ball.
    @Luki
    I grew up on tapes my Dad had of 80’s and 90’s basketball, and I agree wholly.
    @David
    No, I’m pretty sure that “something” wasn’t superior teammates. Barkley had that something, Ewing had it, Reggie Miller had it. Just that indefinable something that transcends stats. LeBron showed flashes of it, in my opinion, early on in his career, but nothing since. (Also, about MJ and Pippen: I remember how three times they were eliminated by the Pistons from the playoffs, and how MJ made Pippen and Grant go over to his place and work on getting better. I truly believe a team takes on the personality of its best player.)

  20. James - Sep 28, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    I don’t think you know the game you are commenting on. LBJ has improved his game yearly and is not a selfish player. Hats off the Durant ,agreat up and comming star.I have no problem and giving dues to all good players .Only the haters despise the good ones.

  21. James - Sep 28, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    I don’t think you know the game you are commenting on. LBJ has improved his game yearly and is not a selfish player. Hats off the Durant ,agreat up and comming star.I have no problem and giving dues to all good players .Only the haters despise the good ones.

  22. Bancy - Sep 28, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    Maybe you have a gripe with LBJ, look man just get over what LBJ did to you and the Cavaliers fans, life goes on. It’s like this guy killed some family of yours the way some of you are acting—let it go he’s gone somewhere else—he’s going to win chapionships.

  23. john shaner - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    I wouldn’t care about being compared with lbj, no champs, jordan, kobe, yeah

  24. john shaner - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    I wouldn’t care about being compared with lbj, no champs, jordan, kobe, yeah

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