Super High-End: Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns
It wouldn’t be an Emoni Bates player comparison article without mentioning Kevin Durant. Ever since his high school days, Bates has drawn comparisons to KD due to their remarkably similar playstyles. Bates’ ability to pull up and execute stepback jumpers bears a striking resemblance to Durant’s game, including the shooting form itself.
This comparison made perfect sense during Bates’ impressive performances in college and throughout his high school career, where he exhibited the capacity to dominate games completely. However, Bates will never possess the extraordinary size and wingspan of Durant, which is a crucial factor in Durant’s exceptional efficiency.
While Durant is not widely recognized as an elite defender in the NBA, it is unlikely that Bates will ever have as significant an impact on the defensive end as Durant. Bates’ lack of length and off-ball instincts prevent him from approaching Durant’s prowess as a shot-blocker. Despite Durant being older and having a history of injuries, he still displays superior lateral movement against guards compared to Bates.
The expectation of Emoni Bates becoming the next Kevin Durant is highly unlikely and should not be placed on him. However, Bates possesses an exceptional shot-making ability that is already suited for the NBA. At just 19 years old, with some further development and understanding of his role within an NBA team, there is optimism that Bates can become a valuable contributor for the Cavs in the near future.