Crystal Ball: Kevin Durant will Be MVP by 2015
Crystal Ball is Horns Illustrated's feature in which we take a look at a Texas Longhorn athlete or team, past, present, or future, and make a bold prediction about them. Like all psychic hotlines, we reserve the right to backtrack due to paranormal interference and all calls are 1.99 per minute.
Kevin Durant is facing some heat right now (sadly not the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, as that would have taken place in June) after his Oklahoma City Thunder made an abrupt exit in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, falling four games to one to the Memphis Grizzlies. We could make a case for how ridiculous it is to rip KD but we're not here to dwell on the past. What concerns us is Durant's future, one in which the greatest scorer in the NBA will be bringing home some hardware. Look out, LeBron. Kevin Durant will win the MVP by 2015.
It's a general consensus that Lebron James is the greatest player in the NBA. That kind of thing happens when you come up one vote shy of a unanimous Most Valuable Player ballot. Not to take anything away from King James, who had a sick stat sheet of 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists a game this season, but Durant's numbers (28.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 7.9 rebounds) were equally impressive in a much tougher Western Conference. On top of that, he was the youngest player to ever enter the 50-40-90 club, shooting 50% from the field, 40% from three-point range, and 90% from the free throw line in a season. One more thing; Durant is only 24. You could make a heck of an argument that Durant was the MVP in any other season that doesn't see the Heat rattle off a twenty-seven game winning streak.
So if it's a consensus that James is the greatest player in the game, with Durant following behind (a notion that infuriates him to no end, by the way. Read the SI article if you need elaboration on his hatred of being second best), then how can we be so sure that Durant will win an MVP within the next two years? Because the numbers and history is on our side.
Consider the fact that Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest player of all-time, never won three MVP trophies in a row. James has just won back-to-back MVP's. If we know one thing, it's that voters of the NBA MVP aren't creatures of habit and that is because said voters are largely sports journalists. One player winning the award over and over makes for a boring story and we can't have that. That's how you get a player like Karl Malone winning the award over His Airness in the 1996-1997 season. Was there any way The Mailman was better than Air Jordan? Not a chance, but it offered writers a new angle, especially when the Utah Jazz squared off against the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals.
On top of that, only Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell have ever won the MVP three years in a row. While this does give some wiggle room for James to win a third straight MVP in the 2013-2014 season, it also affords us some wiggle room in our prediction. That's because there has never been a player in NBA history to win the MVP four years in a row. If LeBron is the first, we have a feeling that Michael Jordan will hunt David Stern down and drop a piledriver on The Commish. With any luck, tradition will continue and Durant will be walking away with an MVP in the 2014-2015 season.
That's not to say that Durant will be undeserving of the MVP should he win it. The Longhorn great is already putting up historic numbers as the sweetest scorer in the Association and he has a great chance to take the trophy home if OKC can bounce back and land the best regular season record. (The MVP often goes to the best player on the team with the best regular season record). He has more than enough motivation to win the MVP on his own without the annals of basketball on his side. He's a stat guru (Durant employs a statistical analyst to assist him in studying shot selection), a physical freak just like LeBron, and likely a future Hall of Famer. All that's left for Durant is bring home some hardware. That's going to happen very soon.