MVP

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Raffy Ledesma

Raffy Ledesma

More than half way through the current season, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (KD) is a making a strong case to be the NBA’s next most valuable player. The 25-year old Durant is having a historic season averaging a career-best 31 points and 5.1 assists per game along with 7.7 rebounds. More impressive is he is making more than half of his field goals including 41.3% from the arc and 88.2% from the stripe. He is the epitome of talent and efficiency

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Already, it can be said that KD is becoming the best player in the NBA (if he isn’t already) and is set to depose the Miami Heat’s LeBron James—who has won 4 MVP awards in the last 5 years. His statistics are putting him way ahead of James in this year’s race.

To put things in perspective, Durant has been on a tear averaging 37 points over his last 10 games including a career-high 54-point performance and two games wherein he scored 46 and 48 points. With these insane numbers, KD has a lock on this year’s scoring title—an award he has received for 3 straight years (2010-2012). He will probably bring home the MVP trophy too.

Beyond the numbers, KD’s sterling play has put the Thunder on top of a historically tough Western Conference. A mark of a star that doesn’t only produce but also makes his teammates better. Recently, the Thunder beat the stalwart San Antonio Spurs for the 3rd straight time this year. While the Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and Houston Rockets are all contenders, the Thunder are a notch above them.

KD has been carrying the team with the injury to their other superstar Russell Westbrook. Since Westbrook’s injury, he has upped his scoring average by nearly 8 points, improved his field-goal percentage, and has been distributing the ball more. He has been simply unstoppable.

It is no surprise that he has been named to the All-Stars—his fifth selection overall—with nearly 1.4 million votes. His votes would suggest that he is now the most popular player in the Western Conference and second only to James in the league who led the voting with 1.42 million votes. Not only is KD talented, he is likeable too. Surveys have shown that KD is more “likeable” than James or Kobe Bryant underscoring his “nice” appeal.

But nice doesn’t cut it in the NBA and Durant, despite his mild-mannered demeanor on and off the court, is fast building his reputation as a hard-nosed competitor. Already his “KD” moniker is being replaced with something more sinister, the Slim Reaper—for his lethal scoring prowess.

Monikers and individual awards aside, KD’s goal is to ultimately win an NBA title. The Thunder went all the way to the NBA Finals in 2012 and chances are, they will get a crack at it again with KD leading the way.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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