Pick a topic - heavyweight boxing champs, NFL quarterbacks or all-time Yankees greats - and Mark Jackson has a well-thought-out rankings list ready to dispense at a moment's notice.

So it was startling Tuesday when it took the Warriors' head coach nine awkward seconds to name the NBA's current best player.

"LeBron James, right now, is the best player in the league, but Kevin Durant is certainly in the discussion. If you tell me it is Kevin Durant, I'm not going to argue with you," Jackson said after prepping for Wednesday's arrival of Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates. "When you're talking about moving forward, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are already all-time greats."

James is still widely accepted as the league's best all-around player, but Durant seems to be closing the gap. Or, at the very least, the Thunder's spindly scoring dynamo complicating what used to be a simple argument.

Durant is averaging more than 29 points per game and is on pace to lead the league in scoring for the fourth consecutive season. Only seven players have won three scoring titles in a row, and Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain, who each topped the charts seven straight times, are the only points champions in more than three consecutive seasons.

And it's no longer just scoring with Durant. Durant, 24, is averaging career highs in assists, steals and blocked shots and has taken his efficiency to another level. He could join Larry Bird as the only players in NBA history to average at least 28 points while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor, 90 percent from the foul line and 40 percent from three-point range.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Durant-24-already-an-all-time-great-4215593.php#ixzz2Iol96aQh