The conclusion of the 2017 NBA Finals not only signaled the Golden State Warriors second championship in three years, but also the end of the 2016-17 NBA season. NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant led the Warriors to the Game 5 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with many proposing a passing of the torch.
Both Durant and James have reigned supreme atop the NBA over the duration of the past few seasons, as the two premiere talents have turned into the hardest covers. James and Durant appropriately took the torch from the likes of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his generation, gracefully carrying this up-tempo era of basketball.
While both are regarded as the two top talents, Durant’s epic performance throughout the NBA Finals suggests that there could be a new sheriff in town. Lakers legend and former No. 1 overall pick James Worthy was asked to chime in on the conversation during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsNation, stating he believes Durant has officially surpassed James:
“I think, after this year, he may have surpassed him. I will say he has surpassed LeBron, right now. Kevin Durant does everything that a basketball player can do. From point guard to center, defending on the perimeter to defending on the inside. He shoots the three. He’s a great passer. He’s unstoppable and the way he injected himself this year. He followed LeBron’s path. LeBron went to another team, got his championships. Durant did the same thing. So I have to say that LeBron for sure has been the greatest, up until this year. I see Kevin Durant, going forward, being more dominant and really the player to watch.”
Both Durant and James had spectacular performances during the NBA Finals, leaving everything they had on the court. James became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double in the Finals, posting 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game.
On the other hand, Durant led the NBA Finals in scoring with 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists. Durant also averaged 1.6 blocks and a steal per game, while also shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from three-point range.
Worthy, who knows a thing or two about clutch performances during the NBA Finals, didn’t seem rather definite with his statement, but acknowledged Durant’s dominance. The three-time champion with the Lakers earned the moniker ‘Big Game James’ for his clutch performances during the ‘Showtime’ era.