It goes without saying that any list ranking players across multiple eras is completely subjective. It's impossible to know, for example, how LeBron James would have done against Michael Jordan since the two players never played against one another, and even if they had (as was the case with Jordan and Kobe Bryant), they wouldn't have been at the heights of their respective powers at the same time.
There's also a recency bias which comes into play when compiling these lists, and it's something Kevin Durant pointed out (via ESPN) when discussing his place on their list of the greatest small forwards of all time.
Kevin Durant was placed the fourth best small forward ever in ESPN.com's all-time #NBArank project. Ahead of players like Scottie Pippen, Elgin Baylor and James Worthy. "I've always been a firm believer in waiting until guy's careers are over, but a lot of people nowadays get caught up in the moment, get caught up in what have you done for me lately and forget about the great players," Durant said Friday of his rank. "I'm not downplaying myself, because I feel like I'm as good as any small forward that's played, but at this point in my career I don't think I should be on that list."
It's insane to put Durant ahead of those guys at this stage of his career based on what they ended up accomplishing. His body of work might one day deserve that distinction, but even Durant himself knows that it's a little early for him to be placed so highly on that list.
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