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 (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?