Over the course of LeBron James’ career, he has faced up against some of the greatest perimeter defenders the league has had to offer.
The likes of Shaun Marion, Tony Allen, Bruce Bowen and Andre Iguodala have all faced King James, and more often than not, LeBron has come out on top. So when it comes to identifying great defenders, LBJ has some experience.
Compared to the early 2000’s when he had just entered the league, wing defenders are having a seemingly easier time stopping James as his career progresses, as proven by the rise of Kawhi Leonard.
But when it comes to James himself, there’s one small forward in the league that he feels can stop him in his tracks when he’s on his game. And it’s not Kawhi Leonard.
“(Durant) is right up there, if not the best,” James said of those whom he faces at small forward. “Kawhi (Leonard) is up there.”
James praised KD’s defense after their matchup during Christmas Day, in which Durant’s Golden State Warriors came out with the W 99-92 after some dubious calls late in the game.
Durant had apparently asked to guard James whenever both were on the floor as well, according to coach Steve Kerr.
“He wants to guard him,” Kerr said. “I mean, he asks for the assignment.”
Durant proved he could hold his own guarding one of his fiercest rivals, as James only totaled 20 points and 6 assists on 7-18 shooting for the night, as well as committing seven turnovers.
KD on the other hand had a stellar night, posting 25 points, as well as 2 steals and a whopping 5 blocks on the defensive end, showcasing his rim-protecting muscles.
There’s a reason James praised Durant for his defense, and if he isn’t careful, KD could very well go and run away with the Defensive Player of the Year award.