Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has proven to the world that he is one of the greatest scorers to ever play in the NBA. In fact, his recent playoff performances against the Milwaukee Bucks even had Magic Johnson saying he reminded him of Michael Jordan.
However, Jordan’s former teammate refuses to compare MJ and Durant, and maybe for a different reason than you’d expect. That former teammate is the Hall of Famer, Scottie Pippen.
Kevin Durant’s playoff performances for the Nets drew MJ comparisons
Kevin Durant proved during his playoff run with the Nets that he is 100% back from the Achilles injury that sidelined him for the entire 2019-20 season.
He also reminded everyone that he is one of the greatest scorers to ever live.
With the two other members of his Big Three battling injuries throughout the Eastern Conference semifinals, Durant had to put his team on his back against the Milwaukee Bucks. He recorded 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists in a Game 5 win over Milwaukee, and then had 48 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in a Game 7 loss.
Despite those incredible numbers, the Bucks advanced to the conference finals.
His performance in a series loss, though, actually reminded Magic Johnson of an MJ postseason performance.
“That showed me a Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan-type performance,” Johnson said on the June 21 episode of Get Up. “It reminded me of Michael Jordan against the Celtics when he got 60, and they lost.”
During the 1986 NBA playoffs, Jordan dropped 63 points in Game 2 of the Chicago Bulls’ first-round series against the Boston Celtics. The Bulls lost the game and Boston swept them 3-0.
Johnson’s comments, and the claims from a significant amount of fans and experts that Durant is the best scorer to ever live, have led to questions popping up about KD potentially a better scorer than Jordan.
Pippen, however, refuses to compare the two.
Scottie Pippen refused to compare KD and Michael Jordan
Pippen recently appeared on The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz, and he received a question on if Durant is a better offensive player than Jordan.
“Why would you ask a question like that?” Pippen said on the June 22 episode.
Pippen, instead, decided to compare Durant to Hall of Famer George Gervin, another legendary scorer and a four-time NBA scoring champion.
“George Gervin: slender, [could] score, handle, had it all but guess what he had to play against? Physicality of the hands, the forearm,” Pippen said. “Kevin Durant don’t play under that stress. So, why would you ask me ‘is Kevin Durant better than Jordan?’ It’s a different game. Kevin Durant’s shooting freely, three’s from anywhere on the court. You [can’t] touch these players after they pass halfcourt in today’s game. So, how you gonna ask me to make that comparison?”
Pippen then praised Jordan’s ability to score during a physical era, something Durant hasn’t had to worry about in his career.
“Michael Jordan scored 30 per game with guys hand-checking, pushing, tripping, knocking him down,” Pippen said. “[There] wasn’t no replay, wasn’t no ‘go back and look at this.’”
The majority of basketball fans know that, as an all-around player, Jordan was better than Durant. Some, though, may give Durant the nod for being a better scorer. However, Pippen essentially refuses to compare the two because the game is played entirely different today than it was when Jordan was starring in the league.
Either way, KD and MJ are both NBA legends.
Kevin Durant vs. Michael Jordan
Pippen is right; it’s hard to compare Durant and Jordan. We can still look at who has the better stats, though.
Durant has led the NBA in scoring in four different seasons and has scored as many as 32.0 points per game in 2013-14. He has also averaged 27.0 points for his career and is No. 31 in NBA/ABA history in total points with 23,883.
Jordan, on the other hand, led the NBA in scoring 10 times. He scored as many as 37.1 points per game in 1986-87 and averaged 30.1 points for his career, the highest average in league history. He is also fifth in NBA/ABA history in total points scored with 32,292.
Jordan essentially has Durant beat in every category, as he even shot 49.7% from the field for his career, while Durant has shot 49.4%. But Durant is the better 3-point shooter, as KD has posted a 38.4% shooting percentage from long range, while Jordan shot 32.7%.
Durant has already proven he is an NBA legend and a future Hall of Famer. However, the Jordan comparisons, even as a scorer, should probably stop for now. Jordan is the NBA GOAT for a reason.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference