When was the last time you knew of a player who scored 25+ points in more than 20 games in a row? Allen Iverson back in 2000-2001 ring any bells?
Welcome to the NBA, home of the best basketball players in the world. But you have two different levels in the league...role players and superstars. There is only an elite few who are truly considered superstars.
Guys like Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Joe Johnson, and Steve Nash, just to name a few. But there is one some people don't always consider.
Oklahoma City's young gun, Kevin Durant. Durant is the unquestioned leader of the league's youngest NBA team, a team who nobody at the beginning of the season had predicted would be anywhere near the playoffs.
Durant and his trust worthy sidekicks Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green have different plans than those who predicted how their season would go.
If the season ended today, the Thunder would be in sixth place in the western conference, which would send them to the postseason. This is a miraculous feet for such a young team, yet it's easy to see why they are so fearless.
Durant is the reason. He is the league's relatively unknown MVP. Durant has pushed his name into the lime light with the likes of Bryant and James, but it's not just because of his ability to score.
Yes, he averaged close to 32 points a game in February, but his chances at winning the league's most prestigious single player honor rely on the sole aspect of the game he improved the most...defense.
Yes, ladies and gentleman, Kevin Durant can play defense. No, he won't win defensive player of the year, but he has finally decided to take advantage of his length and agility, as both his rebounding and steals have increased.
The improvement of his defense has been one that has influenced that of his entire team. After being one of the league's worst defensive teams last season, the Thunder now rank second in field goal defense, a pretty impressive jump.
They also take advantage of the opportunity it gives them, using their collective youth and depth to out run their opponents.
Durant has been crucial for his team's success. Like James and Bryant he is the key factor for every offensive possession and the sole leader of every defensive possession.
Take Durant out of the lineup for more than just one or two games, say about a month, and the Thunder will sink. They'll still be competitive, but they won't have that "edge" to compete in the west.
Durant is the league's real most valuable player no matter who ends up winning it at the end of the season.
Bryant, James, and Anthony are all intensely crucial for there teams...but they've all proved that they can win without them...the Thunder have not.
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