Contemplating if a player would beat another in one-on-one is entirely different than comparing success rates. Some players on this list are arguably, or just statistically worse than Kevin Durant. One-on-One is a battle of athleticism, mental awareness, and physical awareness. Kevin Durant is undoubtably one of the top athletes in all of basketball and sports altogether. One-on-one involves significant head game. If a player gets down in the point race, the winning player will continue to get the ball. This will cause fatigue in both players, but this tiredness will most likely affect the player losing significantly more. Truthfully, Durant's height will really benefit him in a one-on-one game, but this being said, a player who is very fast would be better. According to scientific evidence, and specifically momentum laws, nor speed nor height is more beneficial. The equation p = mv identifies this evidentially. P equals momentum, m being massiveness, and v equaling velocity.
The question whether who will win a one-on-one battle is not based on how is necessarily more successful in the sport, but who has certain skills that are applicably vital to a one-on-one game. I will talk about the players skills, and weaknesses, and how these certain attributes would affect a game between KD and this individual. KD has certain skills that make him very good and I will address these skill sets more in depth. When I did this article on Stephen Curry, it was easier to pick individuals who could go against him. Curry is short and lacks power at the basket. Durant on the other hand is nearly seven feet and is a very strong player at the basket, and is very productive at getting to the basket. Though this is not always the case, since Durant shoots the ball almost every time he gets the ball, this factor is important in the overall authenticity of the article. Here are 15 players who could take Kevin "KD" Durant on in one-on-one.
15 Zach Lavine
The former dunk contest winner has unbelievable ways of getting to the basket. Comparing these two players in regular season play is not possible; KD is a substantially more productive player. Regardless, Lavine is very athletic when he gets close to the rim. For those who watched his dunk contest against Aaron Gordon, I would say it is the best contest I have witnessed. Lavine is very crafty and could take Durant to the basket with his swift ball handling. If you truly want to re-live his insane dunks just look on Instagram under a hashtag #LavineDunk or #2015DunkContest. The night will live in infamy, as one of the greatest dunk contest finals ever.
14 DeMar DeRozan
13 Kyle Korver
By no means is Kyle Korver as athletic or statistically successful as Kevin Durant. But Korver is arguably one of the best three point shooters the NBA has ever seen. Over his career, he has shot .429 from the three point line. Also, he holds a couple important records. He currently has the best three point shooting percentage in a season record on lockdown at 54% and remains the record holder in the 76ers organization for most threes in a season with 226. It is no mystery to owners that Korver is an extremely valuable player to have. He would beat Durant by nailing threes in his face.
12 Boban Marjanovic
Boban is 7-foot-3, and is the 13th tallest player in NBA history. The Detroit Piston would beat Durant out down low. Obviously, Boban Marjanovic is not as good nor athletic as KD, but his height could be a major factor in success rate in one-on-one. Height is very vital in a one-on-one match and so is strength. Boban has both of these things, and may be able to post up against Durant. Boban played a seasons with the Spurs in 2015-16, but then he signed a three year, $21 million contract with Detroit. He has gotten extended minutes from Van Gundy as a solid alternative to Drummond and Aron Baynes.
11 Kawhi Leonard
Leonard actually just got randomly drug tested by the NBA for his 39 point performance on March 6th against the Rockets. Leonard has emerged as the typical Spurs player, quiet but confident. He has emerged as a top tier athlete in the league. Additionally, he will probably get selected to all NBA first team. The five year veteran is averaging nearly 27 points this season and shooting 48.8 percent from the field. Leonard is an aggressive forward who could potentially take Durant at different spots on the court. Leonard has developed into more than anyone could have realistically expected.
10 LaMarcus Aldridge
For a long time, Aldridge has been a top 15 player in the NBA. Since his days in Portland, his success rate down low has been unbelievable. Aldridge would beat Durant in the post specifically, but generally, by bodying him down low. LaMarcus is 6-foot-11, so I am not remotely worried about Durant having some height advantage, unlike other players that may be by some extent shorter. LaMarcus has a two inch height advantage, which would be very useful against KD. Durant has a nice wingspan, so Aldridge would have to try to keep the ball high.
9 Damian Lillard
8 DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins was recently involved in a major trade sending him to the Pelicans to play with the beast Anthony Davis. Though the two have struggled together thus far, I have a lot of faith that the two will end up killing it in New Orleans together. Cousins is arguably the best center in the league. He has averaged 27.2 PPG, 11.0 RPG and 1.3 BPG this season. He would have no problem bodying Durant down low and getting the ball up over KD. At nearly seven feet, Cousins is a major threat to any defender in the paint.
7 Jimmy Butler
6 Paul George
5 Klay Thompson
4 Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving was by all means an MVP type player in last year's amazing NBA Finals series. Irving is a point guard, but he plays the game big. It is evident that he can play extremely well in the post or in the paint. The 6-foot-3 guard has averaged 25.1 PPG this season, 5.9 APG, and 1.3 SPG. Kyrie is no simplistic guard and is very multi dimensional. Irving may have a little bit of a tough time driving on Durant, but offensively, he is more than qualified to be able to potentially beat KD. Irving has been fantastic since he entered the league in 2011 and he has certainly developed into a very productive point guard. His numbers have been increasing in value for quite some time, and he is undoubtably a top tier guard, if not the best point guard in the league.
3 James Harden
2 Russell Westbrook
I find Westbrook to be the most athletic player in all of the NBA. He has a great wingspan for someone his size and continues to be a threat offensively and defensively. I think Westbrook would beat Durant in various ways. He is quicker and would be able to drive on Durant, but he also is a menace on defense. Durant obviously has a size advantage, but Westbrook is very agile from the perimeter. Size will surely be a factor in this game, but not a major one in my opinion.
1 LeBron James
In my book, LeBron is the most talented basketball player of all time. Many people will disagree with me on this for many reasons. Some are very emotionally attached to Michael Jordan and the legacy he left on the NBA. Also, many NBA fans are attached to the idea of a former player being the greatest; nostalgia trumps current situations. LeBron showed his dominance in the NBA Finals last season. Along with Kyrie Irving, James took over the series. I think James would beat Durant from the post and from overpowering Durant.
I think he is a better defender than KD and has more of an ability to overpower him down low. LeBron is probably MVP this season and has a good shot of winning the championship this season. Durant is a top tier NBA player, but LeBron has attributes I find more appealing defensively and offensively to beat him in one-on-one action.
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