LeBron James and Kevin Durant have had markedly different careers in the postseason, but if we compare their regular-season careers by age, we see that Durant’s first nine seasons in the NBA have been almost identical to LeBron’s first nine, right down to the peaks and valleys.
Using each player’s total points, rebounds, and assists per 36 minutes, as well as John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating, which measures a player’s all-around contributions, the two stars have produced nearly identical career arcs, with both peaking and declining at the same ages. LeBron posted only slightly better numbers prior to their age-25 seasons, Durant matched the production at ages 25 and 26, and actually surpassed LeBron in their age-27 seasons in one of the measures.
The difference, of course, is that Durant did not come out of high school with the same hoopla that surrounded James and Durant doesn’t have six trips to the finals or two championship rings. Then again, James didn’t win his first championship until his ninth season, which Durant can still match this year.
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