MVP Talk: LBJ or KD?
The NBA’s Most Valuable Player award is clearly down to two players, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Both superstars play small forward position, but are far from the same player.
Durant is the scorer and he’s a big time scorer, filling it up at a 27.9 point per game clip while shooting 50% from the field and 38% from 3-point distance. He dropped 43 at Minnesota on Sunday and is capable of going off and filling it up at any time and most likely will.
KD averaged 30 points per game in ’09-’10 and didn’t win the MVP, but his assists have gone up by one and more importantly the Thunder are 44-17 this season. Durant’s game hasn’t necessarily gotten much better from the great level it already was, the biggest difference in Oklahoma City is the play and development of Russell Westbrook as a legit superstar top-5 point guard. Durant is getting more physical on the boards with a career-high 7.9 rebounds per game and dishes out 3.5 assists per game.
27.1 points per game for LeBron and he rebounds at the exact same clip as Durant at 7.9 per game. The thing that separates James from Durant is the 6.3 helpers he dishes out per game. LeBron is the superior passer and has been the best all around player in the NBA this season. The Heat are 43-17 and set to be the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, even though the Thunder will win the regular season Western Conference and get the 1-seed, the two teams have the same number of losses.
With the information considered, I would hand LeBron James his third MVP award. I’ll be proven wrong if Durant’s Thunder wins the championship and the Heat go home early, but it’s a regular season award. Although LeBron’s game against New Jersey the other day where he scored the last 17 points of the fourth quarter were impressive, it’s not responsible for him as my pick. James has averaged 29.9 over his last ten games. He’s much more of a defensive presence than Durant, even though KD blocks .2 more shots per game LeBron forces more steals 1.9 compared to 1.2.
James needs to be the man for the Heat to win a championship. Some of the most exciting moments of the season have been when Dwyane Wade was out with injury and James was forced to carry the scoring load. Any time he is deferring and not given the opportunity to display his playmaking skills, I think it takes away from his game and that’s what the Heat fell into last season in the end against Dallas. It’s an extremely close race, but I am more comfortable with James getting his third MVP than I am with Durant getting his first.