Miami Heat: Why King James Has the Edge over Durant in the MVP Race
In their only meeting of the season, Durant accounted for 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists on 55 percent shooting from the field, while LeBron produced only 17 points, seven assists and three rebounds, on a below average 44 percent shooting.
While Durant outplayed and dominated LeBron in their only meeting this season, he's not doing the same in the MVP race.
LeBron has dominated the MVP race for the majority of the 2011-12 NBA season, and unless he decides to sit out the rest of the season, there's no doubt that he will have the edge in the MVP race all the way through the Heat's final game in late April.
The reasons why LeBron has the edge over Durant in the MVP race are many, but the first reason is rooted in the efficient way that LeBron plays the game.
LeBron is a much more efficient player than Durant
While Durant might have the slight edge in offensive production, with an average of 27.9 points per game, as compared to LeBron's average of only 26.8 points, there's no doubt that LeBron is more efficient with his time on the court.
With an NBA best PER of 31.02, LeBron is nearly 3.5 points higher than the next most efficient player, which just so happens to be his teammate, Dwyane Wade. After Wade comes Durant, who has a PER of 26.74, and while that's surely impressive, it's not even in the same vicinity as LeBron's, and that's why LeBron is on a whole different level.
Success isn't build on production alone. It's built on a combination of production with efficiency, and that's what makes LeBron such a special player.
Durant is certainly an efficient player and if LeBron wasn't in the NBA, the MVP trophy would certainly be his, but LeBron makes Durant's level of efficiency look trivial, and that's quite a feat to say the least.
LeBron is a multi-faceted, whereas Durant is one-dimensional
I'm in no way saying that Durant isn't a special player, but the one thing that holds him back is the fact that he's one-dimensional.
Sure, the most dominant aspect of his game is his ridiculous ability to score like he's playing on a play-school sized hoop, but that doesn't change the fact that Durant doesn't do much more than that.
LeBron not only scores at nearly the same rate that Durant does, he also rebounds the ball more and accounts for more assists than Durant does, and he also is an absolute monster on the defensive side of the ball.
There's no player in the NBA that accounts for a higher points/assists/rebounds combination that LeBron, and the fact that he's able to do that, with opposing defenses keying in on him is absolutely amazing. If Durant started to dish the ball to his teammates more, and upped his assist totals than the MVP conversation would be more heated, but until he does that, LeBron is hands-down the more deserving player of the 2012 award.
LeBron shoots the ball at a higher percentage
While this point ties into LeBron's increased efficiency over Durant, it solidifies LeBron as the clear front-runner for the 2012 NBA MVP trophy.
On the year, LeBron is shooting the ball at 53.7 percent from the field, as compared to Durant's average of just 49.9 percent. While that's not a ridiculous increase in percentage, it still shows the impressive efficiency that LeBron brings to the game.
When you think about the fact that Durant has scored 1366 points on 960 field goal attempts, as compared to LeBron's total of 1231 points on just 848 attempts, it just exemplifies how impressive LeBron's performance this year has been.
I know it's easy to think that LeBron and Durant are on the same level when it comes to the MVP race this year, especially after the Thunder's beat-down of the Heat this past weekend, but if you stop and compare both players, it's clear that LeBron has the edge.
It's not just that he's a more efficient, more complete and more holistically productive than Durant. As a team player, LeBron means more to the Heat than Durant means to the Thunder, and that gives LeBron the edge in the MVP race, time and time again.
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