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March 7, 2014

Fightin' Words: Is LeBron or KD the better individual?

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But James also averages more assists (6.4) and less turnovers (3.4) per game than KD. This could indicate the fact that Miami simply have more offensive weapons than Oklahoma City, thus enabling LeBron to spread the ball around more effectively. That leads to the question of whether or not he makes his team better or his team makes him better.

Chris Andersen will be our guinea pig. In his ten NBA seasons before joining the Heat, the tattooed big man averaged 50.8 percent from the field. In two seasons with the Heat, he is averaging 51.6 percent, and last year was his highest post season field goal percentage at 80.7. He also took his most postseason shots, 57.

In contrast, let's look at Kevin Martin. In his previous eight seasons before joining Oklahoma, he averaged 49.2 percent shooting. Martin shot 45 percent in his one season with the Thunder, although he did have his highest percentage from three-point land (42.6) while taking the second most three-point shots in his career.

While being with a star-studded team like the Heat does contribute to the rise in Andersen's numbers, the fact that this team includes LeBron and his higher assist average, the stats show James has a bigger influence on the players around him. And why wouldn't he? Oklahoma relies on KD big time, perhaps too much. He carries the offensive weight, and while he does it to perfection, it doesn't always add up to more points for those around him.

Durant's defensive stats stand out. He averages 7.7 rebounds per game, compared to Lebron's 6.9, and 0.8 blocks per game. 

There is, of course, the personality perception. Durant's picture would surely show up beside the word "humble" in any dictionary, while LeBron carries himself in a more confident way. But why wouldn't he? Back-to-back championships in Miami don't lie, while Durant is still waiting on his first ring.

And in the end, while niceties may tug on fans' hearts, they don't do anything toward points. Stats show that, currently, LeBron is the better player. But can't we all just enjoy these guys while they last? After raking through all of this, I know I will.

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