The Oklahoma City Thunder are playing better than any team in the league, they have the second best record in Western Conference behind the San Antonio Spurs, and arguably the best back-court duo in Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook. If Durant can stay healthy, win games, and record big numbers, he will continue to be among the front runners to win MVP.
Chris Paul’s recent injury and the L.A Clippers continued success has drastically altered the point guard’s stock in the MVP race. What the Clippers have proven is that they can continue to win and play at a high NBA level without their star guard. Im not sure how long the Clippers will be able to maintain such success, but guard, Eric Bledsoe, has proven that he can play at an high level and run the offense just as effective as Paul. Enough about the Clippers, lets get back to the topic, Kevin Durant.
Durant has just edged Kobe Bryant as the NBA scoring leader, he is arguably the most gifted scorer in the NBA, he can tear any defense apart no matter where he’s positioned on the court and his long wing span makes it nearly impossible to block his jump shot. Defensively, Durant disrupts shot selections taken by smaller players and he is commited to playing on both ends of the court. I expect to see the Thunder bring the thunder after the All-Star break; I can’t forsee anything less from Scott Brooks and the coaching staff in OKC. More importantly, I think you’re going to see a more focused and lethal Kevin Durant during the NBA Finals this year; if he can bring home the MVP it should give him even more of an edge leading into the playoffs. How can Durant impose his will and insure the success of the Thunder?
The Thunder have to finish with the best record in the league if they expect to make it back to the Finals, even though they are one of the better teams on the road, having a bad first round match-up could pose a threat on their future success. If some sort of miracle happened and the Lakers made the playoffs, it could mean trouble for the Thunder, especially if the Lakers have momentum heading into the playoffs. I have no doubt that Kevin Durant will rise to the occasion, my biggest concern is Russel Westbrook and whether or not he will fall back into his erratic shot selection and failure to feed the ball to his primary scorer. The Thunder aren’t exactly the most pass friendly team in the league. According to the NBA official site, the OKC Thunder are 19th in the league in assists per game.
Aww man what a tough night, but games like this is what makes us who we are, learn from them and move on..I’ll be better, count on that
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 24, 2013
Lebron James is the only other player mentionable in the MVP race. Lebron is a tough cover, he’s been compared to Jordan, some have even been idiotic enough to say that Lebron is better than Jordan but I wouldn’t go that far. In Lebron’s defense, he has made the NBA Finals with a less talented Cleveland Cavaliers team, which proves how great of a player he is, but I believe Micheal Jordan elevated the NBA to a point where we might not witness again in this lifetime. Talent wise, Lebron could possibly have a slight edge but his body of work thus far lacks the qualifications to initiate such a comparison; Kobe Bryant would make a more convincing debate. If the Lakers experiment with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash wasn’t such a disaster, Bryant would be at the top of the MVP list, the Lakers need some form of magic to make the playoffs, the last time I checked Magic was retired.
As of this day, Kevin Durant and Lebron James are the only two active players competing for MVP, both players are among the league leaders in scoring while maintaining two of the best records in the NBA. With Kobe Bryant switching to the point guard position, his points per game will decrease and Durant should grab the scoring title with ease. Durant has a date with history, last season, Durant and the OKC Thunder made it to the NBA Finals, fought a tough series, but subsequently lost the series 3-2 to Lebron James and the Miami Heat. Durant ended the season averaging 28 points per game, clinching his third scoring title in a row and finished second in MVP votes. In the Finals, Durant led all scorers with 30.6 points per game on 54.8% shooting from the field. After the Finals loss, Durant took the loss personal and has showed all indications on returning for another run at the NBA title.