LeBron James: Kevin Durant should win MVP, he’s been ‘most consistent’
Before the Miami Heat’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, LeBron James all but conceded the NBA’s MVP award for the season to Kevin Durant, suggesting that the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar has been the “most consistent” player in the league.
James, who has won the MVP award four out of the last five seasons, was asked if he believed Durant is the frontrunner for the award.
“I would say he’s the most consistent basketball player as far as the MVP this year, man,” James said, via EPSN.com “He’s put up some great numbers.”
James isn’t wrong in the assessment of his rival. Durant broke Michael Jordan’s longstanding record by scoring 25 or more points in 41 consecutive games, a testament to the scorer’s remarkable consistency.
James also isn’t alone in his belief that Durant deserves the MVP award. KD has been considered the frontrunner not only by LeBron but also NBA analysts, coaches, pundits, essentially anyone in the know who has been asked. Although LeBron’s name has been mentioned as possibly usurping Durant from time to time, especially after James set a career-high by scoring 61 points in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats in March.
Still, LeBron maintains Durant deserves it. Not only that, James mentioned how great it would be for the Thunder star to finally earn some deserved recognition, as Durant has finished second in the MVP vote in three of four years James received the award.
“I think KD has had one heck of a season,” James said. “And, you know, if he’s rewarded with the MVP, it would be great. It would be awesome for him, for his family. He’s played MVP-type basketball. I don’t really get caught up into what people say. At the end of the day, they have their own votes and they go from there.”
The season statistics and averages, while phenomenal for both players, certainly provide merit to LeBron’s opinion. Durant leads the league in scoring, averaging 32.0 points per game to with putting up on average 5.6 assists, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
James, meanwhile, had a phenomenal season statistically speaking, averaging 26.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game, but when compared to Durant, who is outpacing him in both scoring and rebounding, LeBron’s numbers don’t hold up, although they would be career years for 99% of NBA players.
But statistics alone shouldn’t determine the MVP award. How has each player led his team? How have they dealt with adversity throughout the season. It is the “Most Valuable Player” award, not the “Most Statistically Proficient Player,” after all.
Both James and Durant have had to deal with injuries to key players on their teams, with LeBron being without Dwyane Wade for significant stretches and KD being without Russell Westbrook at times as well. Despite Wade only playing 51 in games and Westbrook only suiting up for 43 games, Durant has led the Thunder to a 57-21 record while the LeBron-led Heat are sitting with a 53-25 record heading into Thursday night. Certainly both displayed great leadership in getting the most out of their teammates, but once again, Durant holds the edge.
In the end, who ultimately wins MVP won’t be up to James or Durant, it will determined by the voters. Media members and broadcasters were sent their ballots this week, and while the current odds arguably favor Durant, nothing is over until it’s over.
Furthermore, when it’s all said and done, both players would prefer to win an NBA title over a regular season award. The pursuit of the Larry O’Brien Trophy and that coveted ring probably means more to both LeBron James and Kevin Durant.