Bench – Kevin Durant
This is hard. In what world is the great Kevin Durant getting benched? He is undoubtedly one of the 25 best players in the history of the league, and depending on your viewpoint, he could be considerably higher than that again.
He may be the most unique offensive player in the history of the league – an individual who gets whatever shot he wants no matter where he is on the court. Career averages of 27.3 points per contest and 38.5 percent from deep in just shy of one thousand regular season games is absolutely insane. He is a four-time scoring champion, and an All-Star 13 times.
And yet… and yet…
Durant is now 34-years-old, and is beginning to come down from his absolute apex. This is a fictional exercise reserved for the depths of the offseason, so it would be harsh to penalize Durant for his past injury troubles that have caused him to miss many games in the last number of years. We also cannot criticise his desire to switch teams at a rate that is now common in the NBA.
If we’re talking about carrying a team for an entire regular season, as well as a playoff push, Durant is no longer the guy who you lean upon the entire time. He’d likely tell you that himself, and joining a younger star like Booker is a smart way to conserve his body and energy in order to prolong his career.
Is Kevin Durant the best player on this list? On his day, he absolutely is. By the time all three have finished their careers, will Durant place highest on everybody’s all-time lists? Again, it seems very likely, even if Booker is only 26-years-old. But in this moment, and with Durant having been in the league since 2007, he is coming off the bench.