Is Kevin Durant Doomed to Come Up Short in MVP Race Yet Again?

Jared PorterCorrespondent IIDecember 31, 2013

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 25: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder advances the ball against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during a Christmas Day game on December 25, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright NBAE 2012 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Another Oklahoma City Thunder season, another awe-striking year—thus far—for Kevin Durant

You could say his performance has been MVP-like. After all, his numbers through the first two months of the season are more than ballot worthy: 28.5 points on 49 percent shooting, 4.8 assists, 8.3 rebounds and a Player Efficiency Rating of 28.38 per game. 

As of right now, the players in MVP conversation are (in no order): Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Chris Paul, Lamarcus Aldridge.

— NonStopHoops (@NonStopHoops) December 28, 2013

And these numbers are not an anomaly either. Durant has put up similar numbers for the past several years, which is hard to believe for a guy that is still searching for his first MVP award. If it weren't for a certain King in South Beach overshadowing his performance year-by-year, Durant would be attempting his second or third consecutive claim as MVP. 

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 25: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat wait to resume play during a Christmas Day game on December 25, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ac
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Unfortunately for Durant, he's playing in the same era as the "Chosen One," LeBron James, and déjà vu is beginning to settle in. Like a superhero gnat that just won't go away, James is keeping pace, if not overtaking Durant's run at MVP—again.

Here are the numbers for James' season thus far: 25.5 points on 59 percent shooting, 6.6 assists, 6.9 rebounds and a PER of 29.66 per game.

But as Michael Wallace on pointed out, attaining MVP honors is not the top priority for Durant:

Even this season, while Durant is shooting a career-high 50 percent from the field, James is flirting with a 60-percent mark. And whereas Durant will try to keep the Thunder atop the West without Westbrook for the next two months, James has risen to the challenge of maintaining the two-time defending champion's high level of play as Dwyane Wade has been in and out of the lineup, managing knee issues.

These are all reasons why Durant won't get too caught up in the talk about padding his MVP candidacy. He'd much rather solidify a supporting cast that will be ready, once Westbrook returns, to get through the West and ultimately meet James and the Heat again in the Finals.

For Durant, this season is about getting over the hump and capturing that first elusive NBA title. With a more well-rounded team as he's ever had, he will have a great opportunity to do so. 

That being said, the MVP race still seems to be something on Durant's mind. He is very aware of his shot percentage during games, and as Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Dan Favale noted, he will go to great lengths to ensure his efficiency is both well-documented and accurate. 

After that bad pass, Durant turns to the scorer's table and calls out, 'Not a shot." Had to make sure they knew.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 30, 2013

The fact of the matter is that Durant is an MVP-caliber player, despite finishing behind James the past few years.

Will this year be different? Possibly. But the better question is, does it really matter?

Attaining MVP honors is great and dandy, but the ultimate measuring stick for a player's worth is the ability to lead his team to an NBA title, another thing Durant has yet to do. 

NBA fans and followers are spoiled to have two unbelievable players performing in the same era. Sure, Durant has been overshadowed by James to this point, but Durant also has a lot of time left in his career. Who knows how many titles and MVP's he will have when it's all said and done. 

One thing is for sure, Durant is hungrier than ever. His increasing display of emotion and attitude each year is evidence of that. And for a man who has yet to show he is close to reaching the pinnacle of his career, only great things will come in the future. 

Go Kevin, go. 

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