This year’s MVP race is one of the most contentious we’ve seen in year’s, and it only involves two players. As it stands now, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the favorite to win the award this season, which would be his first time winning. Trailing closely behind him is last year’s MVP LeBron James. With 22 games left in the regular season for Durant to solidify his MVP campaign, and just one day after James scored a career high 61 points in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats, the pressure is on to perform at a high level and most importantly, win.
With the western conference’s best record (45-15) the Thunder are sitting in the driver seat going down the stretch run into the playoffs. Winning their conference will certainly help them in the playoffs, but it will also help Durant’s chances at winning the MVP award. Currently, James’ team, the Heat, are stuck in the #2 seed in the inferior eastern conference. If James can’t will his team into winning their conference he can forget repeating as MVP for the third year in a row.
The voters for the MVP award, NBA writers and broadcasters across America and Canada, will be judging both James and Durant on their performances, but the player who gets their team into a better position heading into the playoffs will have the edge.
The voters will also look at each player’s stats to make a decision. Durant is the NBA’s leading scorer averaging 31.6 points per game. LeBron is number 3 on this list averaging 27.5 points per game. Although James doesn’t score as many points as Durant, he is a much more efficient shooter, which means he is making his offensive possessions count more than Durant is. James is the NBA’s 4th most efficient offensive player, making 58% of his shots. Durant is 24th on this list making about 50% of his shots. The voters will have a very hard decision choosing which stats are most useful in signifying each player’s talents.
Going into last nights game against the Philadelphia 76ers Durant was facing one of the NBA’s worst teams, giving him the perfect stage to show everyone why he deserves to win the MVP award this season. And with James facing a good Houston Rockets team on the road on a back-to-back after exhausting himself on Monday night, Durant is almost assured of not being upstaged.