Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why Kevin Durant is my MVP.

The general consensus around the league is that LeBron James is the runaway winner of the NBA's MVP award, which would make it his second straight. LeBron is well deserving of the award but, in my opinion, Kevin Durant has done more for his team and is more deserving of the award. Statistically, the two are virtually interchangeable. LeBron has averages of 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1 block per game. Similarly, Durant puts up 30.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1 block per game. Durant is also the youngest player in NBA history to win the league's scoring title. LeBron does have the statistical advantage because he gets 6 more assists per game, but does that make him so much better than Durant? Am I to believe that Durant is less deserving of the award because he only averages 2 assists? I don't think so; the two are just different types of players and LeBron has the better team around him.

What speaks to me more than the stats, though, is how the teams have done this season compared to last season. Last season, LeBron led the Cavaliers to a 66-16 record and the Eastern Conference Finals; this season, the Cavs finished with a 61-21 record. The Thunder, on the other hand, finished last season with a paltry 23-59 record. They were young and had just moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City. The franchise didn't appear to be going anywhere. Then this season they go 50-32 with the same young team and are in the playoffs a lot sooner than anyone would have expected. For me, what it comes down to is that LeBron led his team and they did what they were supposed to do in the regular season. We all expected them to run the Eastern Conference after returning essentially the same team and adding the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Anthony Parker, and Jamario Moon in the off-season and Antawn Jamison at the trade deadline. But with the Thunder, they rely on seven players each night with 3 or less years of experience, including Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden, and their leader Durant. As such, they were supposed to be in the doldrums again this season continuing to rebuild and their coach, Scott Brooks, wasn't really expected to be around very long. Yet despite all this, they climbed as high as the 6th spot and won 50 games in the ultra-competitive West; they would be tied for 4th with the Boston Celtics if they were in the East. Kevin Durant is the main reason for the team's success and deserves the award more than LeBron James.

You can't go wrong with LeBron, but I'm just really impressed with how well Durant and the Thunder have done.

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