Kevin Durant has had a great season and has been in the NBA MVP conversation the whole time. Nick Wright, co-host of Fox Sports’ First Things First, said Durant beat Stephen Curry and Giannis Antikonmo as the leader in the MVP race.
Kevin Durant has averaged 39.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.3 assists in the past three games. In those three, COVID-19 devastated the Brooklyn Nets, which had seven players on HSE protocols, including All-Star James Harden. Although Durant played alongside rookie players and Major League players, Brooklyn won all three games.
Wright used Durant’s recent success to propel him forward in the MVP race.
“Kevin Durant, 11-8-8. The absolute four-point play, late in the fourth quarter, to give the net a bit. He’s now outflanked Giannis and Steve, because he’s once again in pole position for the best player in the league. How about that?”
Durant was putting up huge numbers, leading the league in points per game with 29.7 with 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists added. Of course, Carrie and Antetokonmo were putting up their crazy numbers and should be in the conversation, but Durant started to break away from the pack.
Antetokounmpo will also miss some time with COVID, which may help Durant with his MVP status.
This season compared to another MVP season for Kevin Durant
Durant has been in the debate over the best basketball player on the planet for a while now, despite having only one best player. He exploded onto the NBA scene in 2009-2010, when he led the league in scoring at just 21 years old, then won three of the next four scoring titles. Although he did not advance on average in one year, he nevertheless finished with the most points.
Durant won the 2013-14 Player of the Year award at the age of 25, averaging 32 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
This season, he leads the league again in scoring, with fewer points, but he collects more rebounds and makes more for others with help.
What allowed Durant to have such a dominant MVP season was that fellow Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook, played just 46 games. Similarly, Kyrie Irving has not appeared in a Nets game this season, and Harden has been solid but not at the usual star level.
The team announced Friday that Irving will return to play in the Nets’ road games for the remainder of the season. Irving, who will not be able to play matches in New York City and Toronto because he is not immune, will be eligible for 24 games along the way. His return will ease the burden on Durant, who plays 37.0 minutes per game – his highest average since 38.5 in the 2013-14 season.
Durant is a laid-back, steady player who often delivers enough to win games in the regular season. But when the lights shine brightly or when Durant is needed to play like the best player in the world, he rises to the challenge.
When Durant was with the Golden State Warriors or last season, he played effortlessly until he needed to improve his playoff game. He was the NBA Finals player of the year in each of the tournament rounds he played with the Warriors.
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This season, Kevin Durant has been needed to take on the team, and he has responded. Brooklyn (21-8) has the best record in the Eastern Conference after a fluctuating first week in which the Nets went 2-3.