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Max Kellerman: ‘Starting A Franchise Around LeBron Or KD Would Be Ridiculous’

(via NBC Sports)

(via NBC Sports)

During a recent edition of the ‘Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective’ podcast, ESPN’s senior writer and company listed off the best players to build a franchise around. The list was led by the 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, followed by Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and Anthony Davis in the rest of the top 5.

One could say that the list is pretty normal, seeing the quality of these players and how well they have performed in recent times. Nevertheless, some people were shocked by the fact that LeBron James and Kevin Durant weren’t part of the top 5, or even the top 10. According to this list, James and Durant rank 12th and 13th, respectively.

This has sparked any kind of debate in the league, including one between Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith during Friday’s edition of ESPN’s First Take. Kellerman actually agreed with the list, calling ‘ridiculous’ to start a franchise around Bron and KD. When asked if they had to be higher on the list, Kellerman said:

“They should be lower on the list. In fact, it’s ridiculous to put KD or LeBron on this list at all. They don’t belong on this list. To start a franchise, you don’t even realize LeBron turn 112 years this year. You want 112-year-old [to lead your franchise]?”

Then, Stephen A. Smith talked about the skills of KD and LeBron, talking about something different than age to pick one of these players, as to what Kellerman replied:

“If we’re talking about skills, then is either 1 or 2 right now, but we’re not talking about ‘who do I want for this upcoming season?’ We’re saying to start a franchise based on a four-year max. Now KD is considerably younger, if KD wasn’t hurt, he’d be high on the list; he’s coming off an Achilles.

“...Kevin Durant is trying to do something that has almost never been done before. Even Dominique Wilkins wasn’t quite the same, so KD doesn’t have to be exactly the same to still be an All-Star player but at 30 years old, he won’t play at all this year and probably won’t be back to being whatever he can be which is probably only gonna be, if he’s lucky, 80 percent of what he was once until the following season. So why would I start a franchise with a guy who’s only gonna give me and lead your whole production two years from now? LeBron no, KD no.”

Kellerman is just talking facts right now. These kinds of lists have always been about actuality; in the past, we saw people picking Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Davis as the right player to build a franchise around. It’s either about actuality or potential and seeing that LeBron is aging and KD is recovering from a major injury, it doesn’t look like they could be the right players to do the job.

At this point of the year, we can only imagine hypothetical scenarios while the NBA starts, and this is one that will create a lot of debates around the league.