Kevin Durant: The Final Case for MVP

Michael AkelsonCorrespondent IApril 14, 2010

BOSTON - MARCH 31:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots a free throw in the final minutes of the game against the Boston Celtics on March 31, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Boston Celtics 109-104. 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.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Approximately 55 years ago, the NBA MVP award was created to award the player who was most valuable to his team's success.

Somewhere along the line, we all forgot that.

Anybody with a half a brain could look at the statistical comparison between Kevin Durant and LeBron James, and quickly establish the fact that James is having the better season.

Anybody with a whole brain could look past those statistics, and realize that the Thunder would be lucky to win 20 games in the stacked Western Conference without Kevin Durant.

Durant has taken that team on his back, and they have ridden him all the way to the playoffs.

The same could be said about LeBron and the Cavs, but is that really the case?

Is there really anybody who truly believes that a team made up of Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, Shaq, Anderson Varejao, and Delonte West isn't good enough to be an Eastern Conference juggernaut?

If the Bucks can cruise into the fifth seed, then they sure as hell can.

Would they be the contender they are now, if not for the King?

Absolutely not.

Would they be better than the Durant-less Thunder?

No question.

LeBron has the better record, team, stats, and reputation. He makes a pretty compelling case himself.

His 30 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists per game have had us screaming Magic Johnson all season. He hosts the league's best record and the league's best persona. And you better believe that he will see some favoritism come voting day, but I'm certainly not on the James for MVP bandwagon.

Durant's line of 30 points, seven rebounds, and two assists per game clearly can't hold a candle to what James has done this season.

Well, at least not on paper.

However, anybody who has watched the Thunder play this season has come away thinking the same thing: "That wouldn't have been close without Durant"—and it's true.

For a 29-game stretch this season, Durant scored at least 25 points per game. It's safe to say that without that streak the Thunder would be on the outside looking in, in the West.

Kevin Durant plays with a group of young high-flyers trying to get their heads on straight, LeBron James plays with a group of experienced players who know their roles.

Behind LeBron, the Cavs might not have the big names you would want. They gel so well as a team that they might as well.

Anderson Varejao is Horace Grant with poofy hair, Mo Williams is John Starks with a level head, Shaq is, well, Shaq. Not to mention Daniel "sharpshooter" Gibson, Sebastion Telfair, and J.J. Hickson, amongst others.

The point is that the Cavs play so well as a team that they give LeBron James one of the league's best supporting casts. People just fail to realize it.

Kevin Durant has a very good, young point guard in Russel Westbrook, but there is no way he is mature enough to be the second option on a 50-win team. Jeff Green and James Harden are two other young athletes looking good this season, but much like Westbrook, have not even come close to their potential.

The bottom line is that the Most Valuable Player award is supposed to be given to the player who was most valuable to his team.

Either give it to the player who single-handedly carried his team, or change the name.