Earlier in this NBA season, it looked like Kevin Durant was the frontrunner for the MVP award.
Durant was having a career year accepting more responsibilities on the floor and improving in multiple areas.
There was really no doubt that this award would be a two-man race between Durant and the three-time winner and defender of last year’s MVP, LeBron James.
Even though LeBron still had the better all-around numbers than Durant did, Durant still looked like he could win the award for a couple of reasons.
1. Durant had dramatically improved his game while LeBron was just continuing what he did the past few seasons.
2. Voters are always looking for a fresh face and for a player to make some kind of leap and give the award to that guy.
3. The Thunder were playing better than the Heat and if they had a significantly better record then that would give Durant a really good chance.
These reasons why you could call Durant the MVP this season instead of LeBron are losing their strength.
Durant isn’t struggling or anything like that and he is still playing the best basketball of his career this season. He’s well on his way to leading the league in scoring for the fourth straight season and he’s averaging a career-high in assists per game.
Durant is also looking to become just the seventh player ever to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the three-point line and 90 percent from the free throw line for a season. Durant would be the first ever to do this while leading the league in scoring too.
Durant is also right there with LeBron in terms of win shares this season as both have 13.5 so far.
But LeBron is increasing his advantage in PER. He now has a PER of 31.6 while Durant’s is 28.7. If LeBron can keep his PER at this level, it will be one of the seven best seasons ever in the NBA in that regard.
LeBron is also shooting lights out this season which is diminishing Durant’s usual edge in that arena. LeBron is shooting an insane 56.7 percent from the field and career-high 41.0 percent from the three-point line.
LeBron is also averaging a career-high 8.1 rebounds per game, 7.1 assists per game (which is the most he’s averaged in a season since he played in Cleveland) and for the first time ever less than three turnovers per game (2.9).
LeBron is simply having one of the great seasons in NBA history. Not even Durant will have a chance to upset that for an MVP award.
The biggest reason why LeBron has to win the MVP this season instead of Durant is the head-to-head matchups.
The Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder both times they played this season and each time was in convincing fashion for the Heat. LeBron was on top of his game while Durant seemed to still be trying to figure out how to beat him.
LeBron has the advantage in every way this season. He is the best player in the NBA right now and his numbers reflect exactly that.
Durant’s not in the conversation yet and simply has no chance to dethrone the King for the MVP this year.