The Lo Down: The Great Debate; Bron or KD for MVP?
Lance from Orono writes in and asks, “I want the Lo Down, Kevin Durant or Lebron James for MVP?” Well. Lance, ask and you shall receive.
With the end of the NBA regular season approaching quickly, the debate will soon be over. MVP votes are cast immediately following the regular season, so anything a player does in the playoffs, say “complete a 3-peat (I’m looking at you ‘Bron)” won’t be part of voters’ MVP ballot decisions.
For the NBA MVP it’s all about the regular season, and although the debate has cooled off slightly, it’s still not a guarantee; here’s the Lo Down.
- 32.1 points per game
- 5.6 assists per game
- 7.6 rebounds per game
If you’re a fan of advance statistics, got you covered…
(I’ve hyperlinked each to explain the stat if you’re not familiar, you’re welcome)
Durant also has the highest scoring average since Kobe Bryant in 05-06 (35.4 PPG, and should be noted Kobe didn’t win the MVP that year). Additionally, those that remind us LeBron had to play without Dwayne Wade might want to look at the fact that Durant basically played without his starting lineup for the bulk of the year (Russell Westbrook 34 games missed, Kendrick Perkins 20 games missed, Thabo Sefolosha 21 games missed).
- 26.8 points per game
- 6.9 rebounds per game
- 6.5 assists per game
- 56.8% field goal percentage
- 29.21 PER / 8.11 RPM and 17.07 WAR
LeBron labored through 25 games (and counting) without Dwayne Wade and was still able to hold court with the best record in the Eastern Conference. The two players statistics are similar, but I think it’s the intangibles that really start to separate them in this debate.
Both players have some very notable accolades they have or will achieve with this potential MVP award. First, Durant’s streak of 41 games of 25 or more points surpasses Michael Jordan, whenever you pass Michael on anything it’s a big deal (whenever you can refer to someone with just their first name, also a big deal). LeBron seeks his fifth MVP award, and with it he also will join an exclusive club of only Bill Russell and “Michael” to have won that many in a career.
Then there’s the conference discussion, no doubt the Eastern Conference is the NBA equivalent of Stannis Baratheon’s loved but imprisoned daughter (okay I’m forcing the analogy here, but we should all be happy that Game of Thrones is back on TV, if you’re not, you need to be – it’s an amazing show – and “NO” you can’t “borrow” my HBO GO password).
While their respective teams have similar records, LeBron plays in the east, and Durant in the west. But an in-depth look will show that the heat are 20-9 against the Western conference, a winning percentage of .6897; the Oklahoma City Thunder respectfully are 33-15 for a winning percentage of .6875; Durant did play more games against competitive competition, but to be fair let’s not discount LeBron James for hypothetical games he did or didn’t play; so with both players having comparable accolades, how to determine a winner?
I think the answer to the MVP debate lies in the saying “what have you done for me lately.”
Not only have the Miami Heat’s recent struggles been well documented, but look at both teams records for the past month.
The Miami Heat are 10 – 9 in the past month, while the Oklahoma City Thunder 9 – 6, and the Thunder’s recent record isn’t Eastern Conference inflated either, playing two the three best Eastern conference opponents in the past month (Toronto, Chicago, and Cleveland) and won all three on the road.
The remaining schedule for both players is of little consequence, there’s not too much LeBron can do to shift the momentum from an entire seasons’ resume in favor of Durant. But “never say never” recent impressions are important and LeBron could embark on the greatest 6 game streak known to NBA fans.
And if your mind still isn’t decided the schedule shapes up nicely with the Indiana Pacers as the guinea-pig; both MVP candidates will have their shot at the same opponent in consecutive games (Friday 4/11 and Sunday 4/13), so you’ll be able to assess for yourself.
For me, the answer to this tight and interesting (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!) MVP debate is clear; Kevin Durant you are my Daenerys Targaryen aka “the chosen one” aka “the mother of dragons” aka “slim reaper” aka “NBA MVP 13-14”, Kevin Durant congratulations.
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