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Giannis Has Already Passed Durant as All-Time Great
After last night's performance, I got to thinking, just nine seasons into his career, has Giannis already passed some of basketball's all-time greats? Is he already a top 10 player all-time, and where does he rank among current NBA players.
Then I realized that Giannis, with five fewer seasons, has already surpassed Kevin Durant as an all-time great.
That is not to slander Kevin Durant either; I believe he will retire a top-10 player of all time and is one of the greatest scorers basketball has ever seen- this is more to give credit to the unprecedented dominance of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It just so happens that when I was looking for someone to contextualize Giannis' all-time ranking with among current players, Kevin Durant is the only person that qualifies. We can't do LeBron. He's surpassed his peers so much that he's done the seemingly impossible by entering the Jordan GOAT conversation as 1A or 1B. Giannis has completed eight seasons- LeBron once went to the finals for eight straight seasons . . . yeah. So if not LeBron, the next best thing is Kevin Durant, and you'll quickly see that Giannis has already passed him.
Trying to explain how Giannis' dominance is almost impossible, but not one to shy away from the difficult, I'll do my best.
If the season were to end today, Giannis would have two of the top-3 PER seasons in NBA history.
In addition, he would have three seasons that rank in the top 30. The only other players that can say that are LeBron James (4), Michael Jordan (4), Shaq (3), and Wilt Chamberlain (3). That's pretty good company. For context, Kevin Durant's best PER season came in 2013-14, which ranks 33rd all time.
And if we say Kevin Durant is one of the greatest scorers of all time, what do we say about Giannis, whose career scoring efficiency rating of 55.8 is better than Durant's 54.6?
Of course, you could then point to Durant's vastly superior free throw percentage, but the fact that Giannis even has a say in this conversation shows how dominant a scorer he has been. And yes, his points are not as pretty as KD's crossovers and pull-up jumpers; it might mostly be dunks and drives to the rim, but I don't care, and neither does the scoreboard. A bucket is a bucket, no matter how you get it.
So if their scoring output is close, the conversation ends when we talk about defense.
Last year, Giannis joined Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in NBA history to win Defensive Player of the Year, MVP, and Finals MVP. Great company, yet again.
Speaking of MVP, Giannis has two and could potentially win a third this season, while KD has one. And even though KD might have more championships, his two after joining a 73-Win Warriors team are revered much less than the one Giannis won last year, where he set a record for most points in an NBA Finals closeout game with 50 in game 6.
Only time will tell where these two end their careers, but I believe Giannis has already passed Kevin Durant.
And if he wins another MVP and championship this season, we might have to vault him into the conversation of top 5 players of all time.
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