The Ringer’s Bill Simmons recently appeared on the Zach Lowe podcast and claimed Kevin Durant is on the level of Kobe Bryant in the GOAT list.
Bill Simmons has been quite a big fan of Kevin Durant over the years. KD even appeared as a guest in one of his podcast episodes. So, the “unbiased” journalist might be a bit biased on this one.
KD is one of the greatest scorers of all time and if anyone had doubts, I think he silenced all his critics with that Herculean effort against the Milwaukee Bucks.
That’s why often controversial insider Bill Simmons was of the belief that Durant is the 10th best player of all time, even ahead of legends such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, or Moses Malone. Simmons said –
“I thought Durant was unbelievable in this Bucks/Nets series, I moved him up in my all-time rankings. I have him 10th above Shaq, Moses, Hakeem. The shot-making is just better now than in the 80s/90s. Durant should have had 4 rings (adding 2019 and 2021).”
KD had an amazing playoffs, which he followed up by winning Gold for Team USA. As a result, it has prompted Bill Simmons to possibly move KD up one spot to No 9, putting him against the great Kobe Bryant.
Lowe Post podcast: @BillSimmons + I preview the NBA season: Would Nets still be favored w/o Kyrie? Which powers are at play-in risk? New potential rivalries, stars under pressure, Ben Simmons/sneaky trade targets:
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 7, 2021
Is there a case to be made? Read on and find out.
Kobe Bryant: Is he still better than Kevin Durant?
To think that Kevin Durant is on the same level of greatness sounds like blasphemy. But there might be some truth to this craziness.
When it comes to accolades, Kobe has more All-Star, All-NBA, and importantly, more NBA championships. Advantage: Kobe.
When it comes to stats, KD has more PPG, RPG, BPG compared to Kobe. He’s also obviously a better shooter. However, Kobe has the advantage in APG and SPG. Advantage: Kevin Durant.
When it comes to defense, Kobe was a better defender, having more All-Defensive selections over his career. While KD isn’t a bad defender, he isn’t on Kobe’s level. Advantage: Kobe.
When it comes to intangibles, the conversation gets spicy. Kobe’s intangibles and play style was something that affected his team in a negative way. He was a tough shot taker and more often than not, a tough shot maker. But many times, his shot selection was not the best.
In order to build a championship-level team around Kobe, you have to fit exactly the right pieces in.
Kevin Durant, on the other hand, doesn’t have such harsh demands. He can fit in with virtually any other superstar. This was proven when he played with Curry during his tenure with Golden State.
Just drop KD into any offense, and you get a guaranteed 27 PPG lethal scorer from anywhere on the court. He’s also much more efficient than Kobe and takes much better shots.
To conclude, I would say Kobe had a better career. However, it’s easy to see KD eventually passing Kobe as an overall player, sometime down the line.