Kevin Durant has been lighting up the NBA this season. He’s averaging 31 ppg while shooting 50% from the field and 41% from 3-point range (ESPN). He has been forced to step up his game with Russell Westbrook out. Durant hasn’t played a single game without Westbrook since 2008 until last season’s playoffs. Therefore, I can give some benefit of the doubt for his playoff performance, but not a lot.
Durant was forced into foreign waters when Westbrook went down. He had to do things he didn’t do on a consistent basis. Reggie Jackson stepped in nicely for Westbrook, but Durant had to take more responsibility getting his teammates involved. He averaged almost 31 ppg, 9 rpg, and over 6 apg during the playoffs, but he wasn’t nearly as efficient as he normally was shooting 45% from the field and 31% from beyond the arc. With Westbrook’s return date uncertain in the off-season, it was evident Durant worked on specific parts of his game. He’s shown his improvements when Westbrook returned and after he went back down.
I still believe that Durant hasn’t reached his peak yet, which is scary when you think about it. He’s still only 25 years old and still getting better, which can also be said about his counterpart LeBron James of the Miami Heat. Comparisons are NOT in order, but just being able to witness great players play is good enough for me. James has been the best in the NBA for years now, which is easily proved by his 4 MVP awards. But, as the great Sam Cooke once said, “A Change is Gonna Come,” and this season Durant may be that change.
At this point, Durant deserves to be the MVP this season. He has carried the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Western Conference’s best record with Westbrook missing almost half of the team’s games. His statistics are above his career numbers and many have risen from last season. Everything is perfectly aligned for him to win the MVP this year and I hope “favoritism” doesn’t come into play.
There are 4 players who I feel should be in the running for MVP this season. Durant, James, Paul George (Indiana Pacers), and LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers) are those players. George has been a force this season leading the Pacers to the league’s top record, while Aldridge has led the surprising Blazers to the top of the league as well. Their play can’t go unnoticed, even against the world-renowned James and Durant.
James is 5th in the league shooting 58% from the field and 1st who isn’t a center. Yet, his statistics overall has dropped from last year. That is a major factor in my voting for this season. That’s why Durant gets my vote to this point.
Last but not least, Durant has been putting on a scoring display this season. He’s recorded 1(one) 50 point game, 4(four) 40 point games and 21(twenty-one) 30 point games out of 43 total games. Revisiting my article posted on Yahoo in April of 2012 entitled “Kevin Durant Will Be the All-Time Leading Scorer!,” I can still envision this feat being accomplished. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar is the all-time leading scorer at the moment, but I think that record is in jeopardy.