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The Best Basketball Player Alive Every Year, 2010s

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Ranking each player alive in every year has been no easy task, but the 2010's were clearly dominated by one player: LeBron James. But James wasn't as consistently the best player in every year as you may think. Kevin Durant stands out as a possible contender despite his move to Golden State making him look like less of a player.

Robin Lundberg: One way we've all gotten through quarantine is to rank players throughout NBA history. Our Michael Shapiro has done so for every year. Each decade and we're into the 2010s. Now, Michael, I would argue LeBron James is the best player every single year. But I want to focus on another player really quickly. Kevin Durant, do you think because of his move to the Warriors, perhaps just how good he's been, was underappreciated a little bit. 

Michael Shapiro: You know, I certainly think that's the case. I think Durant really hasn't gotten his due as one of the greatest players in NBA history. I understand that his move to Golden State wasn't exactly popular. It kind of ruined the league's competitive balance. But you look back to the 2017-2018 finals. You know, it's arguable that in spurts, Durant outplayed LeBron James. I think 2017 really stands out. For Durant as you do in that season kind of had a fair argument as the best player at alive. 

Robin Lundberg: But how much of that was him being flanked by the Splash Brothers? Because you know no one can handle KD one on one. Meanwhile, on the other side, LeBron is the focal point of the other team's defense. 

Michael Shapiro: You know, I think it's certainly a fair point, and Durant had basically perfect conditions for him when he went to Golden State. When you look early in the decade, though, even when he was in Oklahoma City, Durant consistently, as you see in our piece, finished second behind James for a slate of years, maybe he wasn't as good as LeBron until he went to Golden State. But I think his resume all time certainly speaks for itself. 

Robin Lundberg: Yeah. And I think he's the kind of guy where one sort of seminal moment in Brooklyn could really put him over the top in some of these debates. Michael, appreciate your time, as always.

Check out the other NBA player rankings by decade here: