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NBA general managers prefer LeBron James to Kevin Durant

Olympics Day 4 - Basketball

Olympics Day 4 - Basketball

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If you were starting a team…

That intro has started countless lively debates.

But what do the experts think?

USA Today asked all 30 NBA general managers which player they’d take. Of the 27 responses:

  • LeBron James 16
  • Kevin Durant 7
  • Anthony Davis 3
  • Tim Duncan 1

It’s interesting, though unsurprising, LeBron got the nod over Durant. Durant just had a better season, and at 26, he’s younger than LeBron (29). But Durant’s MVP is treated as an award LeBron only temporarily relinquished while letting his guard down as a back-to-back champion.

For the record, I agree and would take LeBron. But the age gap probably deserves more credit than it gets. It’s also possible a rising Durant has just passed a declining LeBron as a player.

Undoubtedly, LeBron’s two titles play to his favor, as they should. But nothing about Durant suggests he’s not a championship-caliber player. He just happens to have not won one yet.

Davis, 21, has the advantage of youth. He definitely warrants consideration for this question, as Durant knows. Ultimately, I’d opt for LeBron and Durant due them being sure things, though there’s very little reason to doubt Davis’ ascendancy to the top of the game.

Taking a 38-year-old Duncan is just dumb, but I suspect not even the GM who voted for him would actually choose him over LeBron or Durant if given the opportunity. That was just a nod of respect to an all-time great player nearing retirement.