“MVP! MVP! MVP!” That’s what the fans in Chesapeake Energy Arena will be chanting on Wednesday night now that their star forward, Kevin Durant, has won his first MVP award. With yet another scoring title this year, Durant made a strong showing for why he deserved this MVP. Though his scoring was a huge reason why he won, there were several other reasons that contributed to his success. Below I’ll outline some of the many ways that Durant made his season so special.
1. Points on Points on Points.
As I mentioned before, Durant took home another regular season scoring title, his fourth in five years. There was a point in Durant’s 30+ point scoring streak when some of us thought he might have a chance to break Wilt’s record of 65 straight games, but let’s be real, nobody’s going to touch that record. Nonetheless, Durant’s 41 straight games of 25+ scoring is extremely impressive. This year, he won the scoring record by an astounding 4.6 points per game with 32 points per game, and is continuing his brilliance in the postseason with 29.3 points per game. It’s old news, but Durant is a straight baller and can score pretty much whenever he wants to. As a final note, this is also the first year since Allen Iverson in the 2000-2001 season that someone has won both the scoring title and MVP in the same season.
2. All Quiet on the Westbrook Front
This season, Russell Westbrook missed a total of 36 games, compared to Durant’s single missed game. During part of Durant’s remarkable scoring streak, Westbrook missed 16 of them and the Thunder went 14-2. This means that more teams focused their defense on stopping KD, but he was still able to manage 25+ points on a consistent basis. Westbrook’s absence gave Durant a huge opportunity to fine-tune his skills and make his moves that much more impressive which will help him and the Thunder tremendously in the future. Many analysts think the Thunder are just fine without Westbrook, but he takes heat away from Durant and is able to create more scoring opportunities for the team.
Kevin Durant is one of the few people in this league that can play a number of different positions on any given night. Whether it’s taking the ball down the court as a point guard, posting up in the paint, or facilitating scoring for other team members, Durant can do it all. In this his seventh season, the Durantula had higher averages for all the major categories (points, rebounds, assists, shooting percentage) than MJ had in his seventh season. If he’s got better stats than Air Jordan, then that’s got to be a great season.
Over his career, KD has shown us why he’s one of the premier players in the league and this year he demonstrated his abilities on a whole new level that set him apart from the rest. But now that he’s got his MVP under the belt, the question that everyone is going to start asking is, “When will he be an NBA champion?” For now, let’s just revel in the great season Durant had and congratulate him for the outstanding performance. Congrats on the MVP, Kevin Durant!