LeBron James has won the NBA MVP award four out of the last five years. And while he is having another great season he might not be able to claim his fifth MVP this year.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant is having an amazing year so far. As it currently stands Durant has the best shot to steal LeBron’s award.
The 25-year-old is having the best year of his young career. He is averaging 31.1 points per game along with 5.3 assists and 7.6 rebounds per game. On top of that he has led his team to the top of the Western Conference with a three-game lead on the second place team San Antonio.
LeBron is having a great season as well, averaging 26.3 points per game and just over six assists and six rebounds a game. But as nice as those numbers are Durant currently has the edge.
Durant has yet to win an MVP award (although he has been in contention before) so the award would be a huge honor for the young star.
But the most shocking numbers from Durant’s season is the recent tear he went on. Durant scored 30+ points in twelve straight games; his streak was stopped when he scored 26 points against Brooklyn on Jan. 31.
During his scoring streak the Thunder won ten straight games to further their lead in the Western Conference. They were able to beat Houston, Golden State, Portland and Miami during that time period as well.
During his scoring streak he had a 54-point performance in a victory over Golden State; he also scored 48 points against Utah and 46 points against Portland. He was averaging 38 points a game in those twelve games.
Folks, we are talking astronomical numbers here. But it’s not just a good 54 point game here and a 48-point game there — this is consistent dominance on the court every single night. On top of that he was still able to score 26 points in the two games after the streak ended.
How did all of this happen though? We all knew what Durant was capable of; we have seen signs of it in the past. But what actually set Durant off?
I believe that KD has finally learned how to play without Westbrook. Last season in the playoffs Durant struggled to get the job done after Westbrook went down with an injury. This season Westbrook hasn’t played since Christmas day, during that stretch the Thunder are 15-6.
It was also after Westbrook went down that Durant was able to find his incredible form. For the first time in his career he has had great success (consistently) without his counterpart.
This raises some questions for what will happen once Westbrook returns. Are the Thunder confident in Durant’s ability without the shot-demanding Westbrook so much so that they might trade him? OR do they once more try to integrate him into the team?
I suppose those are questions for another time. The only thing that anyone should be concerned with right now is that Kevin Durant is on fire. The season hasn’t even reached the midway point, but if the season were to end right now there would be no doubt that Durant would be the MVP.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. He writes a weekly sports column for the Barrow Journal. You can e-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.