Commentary

Can Kevin Durant catch MJ?

Jordan's scoring titles record will be tough to beat, but KD has some advantages

Originally Published: January 4, 2012
By Chris Palmer | ESPN The Magazine
Kevin DurantLayne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty ImagesDurant has won the last two NBA scoring titles.

Kevin Durant is one of the best young scorers under 24 the game has ever seen. Even in the age of elaborate defenses and ultra-comprehensive scouting reports, there is simply no answer for his brilliant offensive skill set. By 22, he had already tucked two scoring titles safely under his belt. As a result, Durant represents the best hope of breaking Michael Jordan's all-time mark of 10 scoring titles.

First, let's state the obvious: Jordan's record is a very difficult mark to match. Jordan made it happen with his rare combination of talent, ability, drive and good health. However, given Durant's ability, it is absolutely possible for him to break Jordan's record.

Here's a look at how he could get it done:

Why he'll do it

1. He's just 23
Durant is the first 22-year-old two-time scoring champion and the youngest player ever to lead the league in scoring. If he matches Jordan's pace he'll be just 27 when he picks up his seventh scoring title; Jordan was 29.

One thing is for certain (we think): Durant will not chase a career in minor league baseball. That move cost Jordan two potential crowns and he would have likely finished with 12 instead of 10. What's more, if Jordan didn't retire a second time in 1998 and played straight through to about 2001, finishing his career with similar production, he would have smashed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record of 38,387 career points. Durant will likely play an uninterrupted 16 or 17 seasons. That would essentially mean he needs nine more scoring titles in the 12 years he has left to eclipse Jordan.

Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine