Sorry LeBron, But Kevin Durant Is the Real NBA MVP

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IFebruary 22, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY - OCTOBER 29:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder watches a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Ford Center on October 29, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Bucks defeated the Thunder 98-87.  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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

I get it.

Kevin Durant is young.

He's only in his third year.

And while he has his Thunder vying for the NBA playoffs, he's unlikely to lead them to a title this year.

Agreed, Durant won't win the MVP award this year, but he should .

This isn't about LeBron James. But if it were, I'd let you know that he has Shaquille O'Neal; he just got Antawn Jamison; and he has been at the same level for years.

His team is better, sure, but how much has truly changed?

He won the MVP last year, too, so what has he done so greatly that suggests he automatically wins this award?

Again, this isn't about James, so I'll stop there.

This isn't about Kobe Bryant, either.

The guy has always been this good; the Lakers are the reigning champs; and he has quite possibly the best supporting cast in the entire league with Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, and Pau Gasol.

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And while I definitely give a ton of credit to Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Carmelo Anthony, all of those players have better supporting casts.

So, why Durant?

Let's start with the fact that he's .2 points behind LeBron James for leading the league in scoring. He out-rebounds James; he is three percentage points below him in overall shooting; and he is four percentage points ahead of him from behind the arc.

Durant is a superior free throw shooter, shooting 11 percent better from the charity stripe, as well. Really, right down the line at least statistically, the two match each other in every category, although James does hold a commanding lead in assists (almost six more per game).

However, Durant doesn't play the same offensive game as James. He doesn't take the ball up as much, and he isn't required to be a playmaker.

True, James dominates him in this skill anyways, but it's still not enough to say, "Yep, James is the bonafide MVP".

The difference between James and Durant? Durant is leading his young Thunder into the thick of the playoff race, and he currently has them on a nine-game winning streak.

In fact, the Thunder are just three games back out of first place in their division.

On top of being able to lead his team from a division doormat to a strong playoff contender in just his third season, Durant has also displayed an ability to consistently dominate this season, and it's been specifically visible in the last 28 games, as Durant hasn't scored less than 25 points during that span.

The fact is, if you take LeBron James away from the Cavaliers, they aren't title contenders anymore, but in a still relatively weak Eastern Conference, it's debatable that they still make the playoffs.

Take Durant away from the Thunder, however, and they almost certainly finish near the bottom of the league.

Perhaps Durant doesn't have the career, longevity, or the first playoff appearance to back his candidacy.

Maybe this is simply supposed to be the second of 10 straight MVP titles by LeBron James.

But that doesn't mean it should be that way.

Durant is matching James in every meaningful stat category (save for assists), and both players have their team headed for the playoffs.

It's impossible to ignore that James is the most dominant player in the game. That he can take it to the hole "all day, every day," and that his team very well could be the new title favorites.

But the real question is, which player has truly been more impressive?

My vote is for Durant.

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