Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James: Who’s The Best Player In The NBA?

LeBron James

LeBron James is your 2012-13 NBA MVP. Photo Credit: Keith Allison,

LeBron Raymone James and Kevin Wayne Durant: Two absolutely amazing basketball specimens.  LeBron James is 27 years old, 6-8”, and 240 pounds. That is about the same size as the all-time great power forward, Karl Malone. Kevin Durant is 24 years old, 6-9’, 215 pounds. He is long, lanky, and can score at will. They are the best of the best at what they do. But who is the better NBA player:  King James or Durantula?

Let’s take a look at James’ game. He is known for filling up the stat sheet in every way possible, and his averages this year confirm that: 25.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 6.7 APG, and 1.3 SPG. He is nearly averaging a triple double.  Kevin Durant has only recorded one triple double in his entire career (so far). LeBron has managed to record 30. That is good for the 7th most triple doubles of all-time.

Just to give you some perspective on how impressive 30 triple doubles is, consider that James’ 30 triple doubles are more than what Michael Jordan or Clyde Drexler had in their entire careers. Keep in mind LeBron is currently playing his 10th season in the league and both Jordan and Drexler played 15 seasons. Needless to say, LeBron should be considered one of the greats in this aspect of the game. Nobody in the game today can fill a stat sheet like King James. Nobody.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is on the verge of joining the 50-40-90 club. Photo Credit: Keith Allison,

As impressive as James’ stats are, Durant’s can hold their own.  I believe he is the best pure scorer in the NBA today. Nobody scores with the same sense of ease or efficiency of Durant. The numbers speak for themselves: 27.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG. Durant also has a true shooting percentage, or TS%, of 64.8%. TS% is a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account 2-pointers, 3-pointers, and free throws. It gives us a true sense of how efficient a shooter a certain player is. Durant’s TS% of 64.8% is solid and above average. In comparison, at 60.1%, LeBron is still above average in the TS% department but clearly is not as effective as Durant.

We know that both these players can easily “get theirs”, but how much better do they make their respective teams? A stat that helps us gauge this is called win shares per 48 minutes or WS/48. What is that exactly? WS/48 is an advanced stat that estimates how many wins a certain player contributes to their respective team. It takes into account the various things a basketball player does to win or lose a game and weighs them appropriately to provide a “win share”. Essentially, this stat takes into account everything a player does and converts it to a percentage of wins for the team. The average WS/48 for a player in the NBA is roughly 10%. LeBron James’ WS/48 is 26% which is definitely impressive.  What’s even more impressive is Durant’s 28%. That’s right – Durant is responsible for winning more games than LeBron.

Taking all these numbers, stats, and averages into account, I believe they show that Durant is a better, more effective player than LeBron. He is a more efficient scorer and he contributes more wins to his team. A number most overlooked when comparing these two players is their age.  LeBron turns 28 at the end of this month, while Durant recently turned 24. We are witnessing LeBron in the prime of his career while the best for Durant has yet to come. One thing is for sure: when it does, it will surely be something to witness.


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Tags: Kevin Durant Lebron James Miami Heat MVP Nba Mvp OKC Oklahoma City Thunder Thunder

  • Chinwe Orie

    I love this article. My favorite player is Kevin Durant actually, but I think James has a better all-around game. I hope that will change soon in June!

    • Rob Nabakowski

      It’s close. One thing is for sure. They are both MUCH better than anyone else in the league.

    • alex williams they call me bigdaddy

      kevin durant is the best in the nba today lets get that straight kevin durant is a force nobody can stop actually they the same player in my opinion cause lebron has 2 more assits then kevin but kevin has 2 more points then lebron both put up the same kinda number but kevin is a train going 1000 miles per hours tell me when you stop it

  • Brady Hoglund

    Chandler is a 7 footer. It’s a good thing he can make a high percentage of his dunks every game to boost his TS%. And Chandler’s WS is actually 27.4%, but that doesn’t matter. Durant’s WS is up to 28.4%, which is actually higher than Chandler’s. 28.4 > 27.4. Thank you for your opinion though!

    • Rob Nabakowski

      The problem with win shares, and I felt the same way when Lebron was leading in it, is it is an “estimate”. There’s still subjectivity in that. I have no problem with this comparison, though (james vs. Durant) as they are heads and shoulders the two best players in the game. However, Lebron just does more. He produces more. He’s asked to do more, yes, but the fact still remains that he does more. I mean who leads their team in points, rebounds and assists? Yes, there may have been players on truly horrible teams that have done that, but the Heat are the Champs. The freaking NBA champions. Oh, did I mention that he guards centers and point guards and every position in between? Make no mistake, Lebron is the best overall player in the NBA. He just does more.

  • Xavier Mosruis

    The effort they put on the court is amazing! If they both can do that for the rest of there careers it will be amazing. e.g ( Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler did so can they!

  • Robert Jackson

    I like that you guys like lebron and durant but consider when kobe first entered into the league…..lest not forget the stats… baby jordan in memphis

    • Michael Dunlap

      So are you saying you’d go with Kobe as the best in the NBA? Also, do you think he’ll win the MVP as things stand?

  • Anonymous

    robert jackson lol kobe done for the rest of his season and dont ever call him baby bordan micheal would slap you across your face if you told him that