NBA / Sep 24, 2010 / 10:00 am

Who’s Better: Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony?

Kevin Durant, Dime #51

We argue. You decide.

KEVIN DURANT (by Casey Mack)
In the aftermath of the crazy free agency period, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony have hogged the press. With skills like theirs, they command attention. Despite all of the similarities, these two have made their news for two different reasons.

One surpassed expectations with his team, while the other had a disappointing end to the season. One let his game create the entire buzz, while the other joined the bandwagon of stars demanding a new home arena. One played his way into the league’s top 5 players list, while the other fell off of it. KD has surpassed Carmelo to join that elite group. On so many levels Durant is now better than Melo.

Defensively, Durant is more consistent. Carmelo has the ability to play D when he wants, but in many occasions he just seems uninterested. With KD’s length and foot speed, he can defend more positions than Carmelo. Durant has the stats to prove his defensive superiority. KD has the edge in steals (1.4 spg to 1.3). KD has an even bigger edge in blocks (1.0 bpg to 0.4 bpg). Effort on the defensive end makes and breaks a lot of comparisons. In this case it’s just the beginning.

The best defense is a great offense. Both are great scorers, but as of late KD has the hotter hand. The numbers from this past season supports this fact. KD won the scoring championship by putting up 30.1 points a night, while Carmelo came in third with 28.2 points per contest. Durant outshined Melo in field goal percentage (.476 to .458). The same is true when looking at three-point field goal percentage (.365 to .316). The only statistic where Carmelo held the upper hand is in field goal attempts (21.8 to 20.3).

A common attribute that all the great scorers use to boost their numbers is free throws. KD dominates this part of the game as well. Durant made it to the stripe 10.2 times a night this past year. Carmelo was slightly behind with 8.9 attempts. Also, Durant mad more on a nightly basis (9.2 to 7.4). As the numbers show, Durant had a better free throw shooting percentage at the charity stripe (.900 to .830), and it’s clear that KD is more efficient at creating easy scoring opportunities.

To sum things up, KD is the better of the two wings. At this point in time Durant just does everything better than Carmelo. The numbers do not lie. KD is now the player that no one has a bad thing to say about. It should be interesting to see who will get the starting role on Team USA when the Olympics roll around.

Carmelo Anthony, Dime #53

CARMELO ANTHONY (by Andrew Macaluso)
Argue all you want, but Carmelo Anthony has the best array of offensive moves in the League. He uses his patented jab step to create space to knock down his silky smooth jumper, his size and speed are a rare combination, he has one of the quickest first steps in basketball, and his post-up game is highly underrated.

I can’t say the same for Durant as he is more of a catch-and-shoot type player, while ‘Melo likes to size up his opponents while saying to himself, “How should I embarrass you today?”

‘Melo also loves contact, which Durant does not judging by his avoidance of the post game. Without any post moves, Durant lives at the three-point line and the free-throw line, where he receives superstar treatment (10.2 FTA per game). ‘Melo is one of the best at getting to the foul line, but doesn’t get there nearly as much as he should (8.9 FTA). If you watch his games, he should average around 11 free throw attempts a night.

A lot of people knock on Carmelo’s defense, but when the game’s on the line, he’s all ears. In a game of one-on-one, Durant is simply too small and brittle to be able to guard ‘Melo and would more than likely settle for outside shots rather than driving in for a score. In 10 games against OKC in his career, ‘Melo has averaged 29.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks, hitting 50.5 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from three, and 86.5 percent from the free-throw line (Durant averaged 27.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.0 block against Denver, on 43.2 percent shooting from the field, 42.9 percent from the three, and 88.3 percent from the free-throw line).

But let’s be real: Who talked about Durant this much before his streak of scoring 20 or more points for over 30 games started (which came to an end against Denver)? He’s become the medias obsession … over a scoring title.

‘Melo was famous coming out of college after leading Syracuse to their first National Championship in 2003. He’s also led the Nuggets to the playoffs every single season he’s been in the league, and during his early years the Nuggets didn’t have much talent besides him. Durant wasn’t able to lead the Supersonics into the playoffs his rookie year — they ended with a franchise worst 20-62 record. But playoffs are where it matters most, and in KD’s lone playoff appearance, it was Russell Westbrook who was doing the most damage against L.A., not Durant (he shot 35% from the field, ‘Melo shot 46% against Utah). Maybe it was first date jitters. But for those who think ‘Melo isn’t a leader, the same can be said for Durant, because we all know Westbrook is running the show in Oklahoma. Durant might have the higher ceiling right now, but if I want instant offense, it better come equipped with an all-around game.

Who do you think is better?

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  • karizmatic

    Durant’s stats are better than I thought and it’s a lot closer than I originally thought, but I’m still going to go with Melo, he’s got a killer post game and I think that makes a difference, if Durant ever gets even half the post game Melo has forget it.

  • Danny

    Saying that Melo “should” average 11 FT attempts a night is one of the worst arguments I’ve ever seen in one of these comparisons.

  • http://www.TheProductBand.com Kermit The Washington

    “The best defense is a great offense”

    pretty sure that’s the other way around…

  • Marcus

    Melo and KD are both prolific scorers. KD is a few years younger than Melo and id say his more mature and has a better all around game.

    No doubt it’s Durant.

  • JAY

    It all depends on the team.

    1)If I’m starting a team from scratch, I’d go with Durant
    2)If I want to have a run and gun, west coast style team, then Durant
    3)If I have a slow-it-down, grind-it-out type of game, then Melo.
    ^^^ Regarding the last 2 scenarios, it also depends on the existing personnel but generally speaking that’s the direction I’d take. In hindsight, imagine Dumars took Melo instead of… what’s his name again??? Melo’s game is perfect for Detroit. I’m sure Dumars kicks himself every morning for that one.

  • DVS

    Durant is going to have the better career. Look at what he’s done already. He’s a beast. He’ll possibly catch lebron at some point.

  • jace

    ill go with melo.

    based solely on physicality. otherwise.. i think they’re pretty much the same person.

    durant is better at the 3pt line.. melos post game is like no other. i dont count durants post game tho.. hes gettin there.. in college his post game was tight.. but since these are bigger stronger opponents and he doesn’t wanna put on too much weight.. he’ll still slowly get better.

    both have shown a passion during the game.. but melos pure physicality down low when rebounding or scoring puts him slightly at the top……… for now. we’ll see this season.. durant showed a black mamba-like determination in FIBA play which might give him the lead this upcoming season… cuz to me, it seems like durant gets twice as good every year in terms of being a complete player.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Danny

    Have you ever watched a Nuggets game? ‘Melo is the only superstar in the League that doesn’t get treated like one.

  • JAY

    @Danny: “Saying that Melo “should” average 11 FT attempts a night is one of the worst arguments I’ve ever seen in one of these comparisons.”

    Actually it’s a very valid argument. Have you watched Denver play?? Melo gets hacked ALL THE TIME with no calls. And we’re not talking simple fouls… Melo get beat up inside while the refs turn a blind eye.
    If Durant got hit with one of the non-foul blows that Melo gets, it could put him out for 3-4 games.

    Macaluso’s statement was implying that Melo should work harder to get 11fts/game…. he’s saying the refs don’t call fouls for Melo.

  • JAY

    Hahah… nice… I was one minute too late.

    “‘Melo is the only superstar in the League that doesn’t get treated like one.”

  • JAY

    correction to #9….
    Macaluso’s statement was implying that Melo SHOULDN’T work harder to get 11fts/game… he’s saying the refs don’t call fouls for Melo.

  • jace

    oh and i think durant shouldve been mvp this past season. i can’t really tell how much of an influence scott brooks had in making teh team a winner.. cuz im on the outside looking in. but as a rookie coach.. theres no way he couldve had a better influence on the wins than kevin durant.

    durant posted career highs in every stat except for maybe 3pt%.. from 23 wins the previous year to 50 wins from this past year?

    cmon.. yea maybe lebron was more efficient.. but u knew his team was already a well oiled machine becuz his team was top in the league the last year.. all veterans.. durants team was almost all young guys with a rookie coach.

  • JAY

    Shit…. correction to #11
    Macaluso’s statement WASN’T implying that Melo should work harder to get 11fts/game… he’s saying the refs don’t call fouls for Melo.

    ^^ I’m ready for a weekend ^^

  • WinDelRoj

    Melo would probably get more free throws but he doesnt get any love from the refs. Mainly because hes not interested in getting by someone as much as going through them. He gets offensive fouls called against him at Dwight Howard levels. Anyway, when Melo plays D the argument isnt even close. I just wish he would be more interested in being a complete all around player rather than just trying to embarass the defender on offense. KDs rise is mostly hype deservingly so usually. But head to head when it matters? Melo is so much more physically imposing that KD would probably get hurt.

  • Ekstor

    @jay, i happy grammar police not corrected you b/c your english not well

  • diddoff

    “I can’t say the same for Durant as he is more of a catch-and-shoot type player”
    Cool, you watched the FIBA. How many Thunder games did you watch last season? 4?
    How sould KD get 10 FT attempts per game with a catch-and-shoot style. He’s not Dirk.

    “Durant wasn’t able to lead the Supersonics into the playoffs his rookie year”
    Of course not. Do you know his supportin cast? Not even Kobe or LeBron would have lead them into the postseason.

    “he shot 35% from the field, ‘Melo shot 46% against Utah”
    Yeah. KD played against the best lockdown defender in the league. Melo against CJ Miles? Come on, that’s a poor comparison.

    Durant, no doubt about it.

    BTW: I thnk the reason for this discussion are the overall ratings in NBA 2K11. Kd got 91, Melo 93. Everyone knows that KD is the frontrunner for 2K11 rival NBA Elite.
    Why should 2K make him a superstar?

  • Hollywud15

    Co-sign jay and andrew…. Melo gets no love compared to the kd’s kobes and lebrons

  • JAY

    LMAO @Ekstor
    Nice bud. HA! I no wrote best english firdays

  • air99

    melo all the way man..durant is good, no doubt about it but his like a walking stick out there..i don’t know man, i just don’t like durant..

  • Notorious

    Give me Durant 100 times out 100. I want a sharp shooting team player with length and one hell of a work ethic. I dont want a drama queen crybaby who wants out of town and avoids playing defense like the plague.

    Durant is younger, longer and works harder on improving his game. He also wants to play against and compete against the best, not join forces like some tag along coat tail rider. Loved what he did in the World Championships, love his low key approach, love his desire to compete.

    Hopefully Carmelo can find some buddies to join up with, as being the lone dog has proven he aint cut out for it. Let everyone else overpay for Melo, give me Durant every single time and I like my chances. KD all the way!

  • Qrentis

    I really wanna see this up coming season before I make this decision for many reasons but I won’t go there…

    Durant clearly has the most upside but at the point I’m still gonna have to go with KD..

    He was built for basketball.. his size and skill set is like no other.. I think he’s gonna own the court this upcoming season

  • Roc1980

    Melo is going to be the starting PF for the Olympic team. Period. He’s a load down low and we all know who was the leading scorer for the Redeem team (even w/ the likes of Kobe, LeCon, Wade). KD was the only scorer on the WC squad and they basically constructed the team around him. KD will be a glorifed role player on the Olympic squad similar to D-Wade’s role…

    Just look at their lone year in college… KD had a great team at Texas and got put out early… Melo had a decent squad and put them on his shoulders and won it all.

    I’m taking Melo all day.. every day.. and twice on Sunday’s!

  • Larry


  • B

    Durant is good… but I’ll take Melo any day of the week.. Melo is more clutch than Durant…

  • LakeShow84

    Id take Durant because MENTALLY he knows what he needs to do to become the best and he seems like someone who has the HUNGER to go get it..

    We can call Melo a whole lot of shit but HUNGRY damn sure aint one of them lol

    Durant is damn near as effective a scorer and is beat by a good 30lbs.. hes a more a CONSISTENT defender even tho id say Melo has better D just in the sense hes got muscle on him to bang with the Lebrons and so on..

    But id say Durants drive to be on the best is what separates him from Melo..

    Its drive that pushes u through adversity and whenever Melo seems to encounter adversity he flabs his lips and throws his hands up..

    No excuse for losing to Utah in the first round lol

  • WinDelRoj

    @ 20 so Melo cant cut it and neither can Lebron but KD has somehow done it already? Lebron went to the finals with a bunch of nobodys and got 2 MVPS. Melo was bounced out of the WCF by the Lakers with Kobe, Pau and Lamar who each in his own right is a No 1 player on most teams in the league. KD has a team with a lot of talent so lets not pretend that hes by himself out there. Lets not get crazy talking about the world championships either, its not even the olympics. As you know Lebron and Melo both got gold medals from that tournaments. Say what you want about them leaving town but discounting their talent is foolish.

  • Heckler

    here is the simple answer to this question with another question….

    if the game is on the line, and you could have either one of these players on your team to make a DEFENSIVE stop, which would you choose?

    and there folks, is the answer. they can both do it all scoring wise.

    lets say your a coach playing against Indy, and the Pacers have the ball for the last shot. you know its going to Granger. who would you rather have on your team to defend him….Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant?

  • Roc1980

    Texas Notables:
    A.J. Abrams G
    Connor Atchley C
    D.J. Augustin G
    Damion James F
    Dexter Pittman C
    Kevin Durant F

    Syracuse Notables:
    Hakim Warrick F
    Gerry McNamara G
    Kueth Duany G/F
    Billy Edelin G
    Carmelo Anthony F

    Tell me which squad had more talent???

  • CTP

    If I’m building a superteam, I pick DURANT 10 out of 10 times. Melo is sick, but Durantula is more unstoppable and a better defender. (and I would think, a better team mate).

  • Sporty-j

    Lets see. Both players do the exact samething and are the exact same players EXCEPT that 1 seems scared to get down low in the post and has yet to develope a low post game which will not get his team pass L.A. and shoots all the outside shots fill wants him to shoot instead of get physical down low with Artest and get L.A.s only defender out the game that has any chance at stoping him. Give me Melo until Durant gains about 20 pounds of muscle and shows me he wants to use some of that height down low in the post… Wade led team USA in scoring by the way ROC1980

  • Roc1980

    @Sporty J

    I stand corrected. Wade did lead them in scoring off the bench… For some reason, I kept thinking Melo was the leading scorer.

  • KyBaller

    OMFG!!! KD has become the leagues new “face-man” and so the sheep have followed suit!!! Give me Melo’ any day all day…all these if’s and when’s for KD…I want right NOW!!!

  • That’s What’s Up

    Melo is more established, but only because he has 7 years in the League. Check Melo’s stats his first three years in the league vs. Durant’s first three years:

    PPG – FG%-
    20.3 – 43%
    25.3 – 47.6%
    30.1 – 47.6%

    PPG – FG%-
    21.0 – 42.6%
    20.8 – 43.1%
    26.5 – 48.1%

    Bottom line is ‘they both bad’

  • That’s What’s Up

    somebody please tell me KyBaller is female.
    That post was pathetic

  • ricky ross

    this is a tough one both game offense game can score.. both are clutch(id boost on melo more for this) but defensively.. kd does way more. more so cuz melo is lazy i think not sure but kd does more. bottom line id pick kd cuz cmon.. he went 20ppg to 25 to 30. thats retarded going in his fourth year and expected to be mvp. i can also see him winning more chips then melo.. thats if melo even gets 1(dont see it happening with denver with kobe and okc around) but ye dont get me wrong.. melo is sick

  • Shot In Your Face

    This one is a tough one.

    Melo has been called by Kobe and some other top defenders, “the hardest guy to guard” since his quick first step, strength, and silky smooth jumper. Kobe actually said Carmelo is stronger (lower body wise) than LeBroad.

    Durant is unguardable due to his length (6’11 with shoes on). He’s not the most athletic or quickest dude, but he’s length and jumper makes him exhale buckets.

    Both are proven scorers, but at this point I’m going to say Durant is better. He just seems to work harder and want to be better than everyone else (including Melo) and is about 4 years younger than Melo. Also the fact that he’s not a drama queen and a distraction to his team

  • Pat

    His team mates rally around KD who provides them much leadership while the significantly older Anthony surrenders that crown to Billups because he doesn’t have the respect of his team mates.

  • Nizzio

    Melo can score. Durant can score. They both play mediocre defense. They are both excellent from the free throw line. They can score on you whenever they want. Melo handles clutch situations so much better. However, KD is only 21. The sky is the limit for him. Carmelo, on the other hand, is 26 and he is in his prime right now.
    KD because he is younger

  • ay yo..

    I’ll defend Melo to the fullest, but give me Durant.. because you know what you’re gonna get.

    Melo killed Durant when they went against each other, and really, he kills other great players.. but thats the thing..

    His effort isn’t consistent. He’ll take some of the hardest shots against average defenders, when he doesn’t need to. It’s frustrating (and that’s just offense).. let’s not go into the 2-3reb games, or the lazy defense.

    IDK why people throw in Durant’s weight and such. He’s pretty durable to have such a slim frame.

    Melo SHOULD be better than Durant right now, but overall.. he isn’t.

  • downtown_brownclown

    both are effective scorers… but when the game is on the line… i’d take melo… maybe in 2 years time… then durant, we’ll see how melo’s so called “primadonna” act would go. if he needs better support… give it to him, we’ll see if he can get to the next level. :) as for durant, melo accomplished those already… we all know he can score more than the usual if he’s also the only focal point on offense. :P

  • Mo

    I’m going with Melo. I like Durant too though. Durant is a younger, athletic, high volume scorer that just finished the season as the top scorer (and we all know how much people love scorers) and just had a great summer with Team USA so while he is really good and he is fresh on everyones’ minds, the hype train is just too full right now.

  • Mike “Yahoo! Exclusive” Mihalow

    what Notorious said

  • Nigel

    This is tough. I think KD has more natural talent and that mixed with his length allows him to score easier than Melo can. However, Melo really earns his points and gets it done in a more fundamental way. He has a better catalogue of offensive moves such as jab steps in his triple threat as well as his post up game. So I think Melo is the better “player” per se because he has more skills than Kevin. But I would want KD on my team.

  • G

    Melo is definately a better all around player. Melo is a much better passer and less turnover prone than durant. If u watch a nuggets game, u will see how great melo passes out of the double team, which is an underrated part of his game, and often times, he makes the right pass which leads to another great pass that does not show up in the stat column

    And MOST IMPORTANTLY, NEXT TO KOBE, MELO IS THE MOT CLUTCH PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE. We are soooo impressed by durants season, and rightfully so, but Melo did the same thing when he was 22. He averaged 29ppg and 6rbs and 4ast a game when he was 22, while leading his team to the playoffs. Durant is the medias lovechild because he is so likable and humble, but the hype he is getting is ridiculous.

  • Daniel

    right now Melo is better he can hit the clutch shots and can score from anywhere but in a few years KD will be the best player in the league.

  • Ernesto

    Absolutely KD. Melo’s a punk-ass bitch.

  • ball in my hand

    I’ll go for melo’

  • Celts Fan

    It’s 100% Melo right now, no question. Durant will be better, but at this second, it’s Melo. Everyone forgets Durant struggling w/ Ron Ron in his shirt. It’s a good experience to grow and make him practice all off-season thinking about it, but I’ll take Melo right this second, full well knowing Durant’s going to pass him, quite possibly this year.

  • leech

    For someone with such a great post game and an array of moves to get off any shot, why isn’t Melo more efficient? Why only a 45.8% shooting percentage? Shouldn’t shots in the paint be more effective? Looks to me that Melo’s post game is not underrated, but perhaps overrated.

  • ys

    leech watch melos game first and talk plz

  • Brian

    Durant- and it’s not even close

  • Mr. TKO

    That’s crazy, I clicked the link expecting everybody to be all up on KD’s nuts but it’s pretty damn even.

    Like everybody said, they put up similar stats on the team. KD is a Beast, Melo is a Beast. They can shoot it from damn near anywhere, and they’re both deceptively strong.

    KD is at least 6’11 (Watch him stand next to Tyson Chandler in Fiba) but he’s very lean. Melo is 6’8 but deceptively solid.

    It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other with both players.

    For right now, I like Melo more and hopefully wherever he plays he can get out from under the shadows of Bron and KD.

    Btw, I think that’s why melo is so under rated, he came out wit Lebron who was all hyped up and melo was an afterthought and then KD comes out being spectacular the past few years (even though he put up similar numbers to Melo’s 1st few years) and gets a lot of love while Melo has been forgotten by everyone.

    I’d take Melo for at least the next year or two but it depends on who puts in more work to earn the title of 2nd most hyped SF in the league.

  • luke

    “It should be interesting to see who will get the starting role on Team USA when the Olympics roll around.” ….after carring the USA to victory at the FIBA World Championship Durant is a lock to start in the 2012 Olympics and he will be the best player in the league by then! Melo’s game has hit a plateau, not that being one of the top 5-10 players in the league is bad.

  • Carlos PR

    This is a tough one, both players are 2nd and 3rd best small fowards in the league. Each has his slight advantage over the other in one stat or another, but last year KD had a killer season. Melo is a more experienced player who has demonstrated in playoffs that he is the real deal. A few seasons ago, he hit 5 gamewinners in a season, sort of like Kobe did this year. Durant is probably a better shooter from outside, but Melo is a better inside threat with much more inside moves. The other thing is persona, KD is a very humble guy, totally opposite from Melo, who has lots of swagger. If you want experience, go with Melo. If you want future, go with KD. Also I disagree with the article in the part that is says that Westbrook runs the show, no doubt KD is the franchise player, remembre KD is not the point guard so he doesn’t run the plays. As of now, I’d pick Melo because of the experience, but the margin is really thin…

  • K

    Melo has the most complete offensive game in the league. point blank period. Hes better than Durant.

  • ewfadsa

    kevin durant is way better than carmelo