Why LeBron Is Not The MVP

The Basketball Gods Have Failed Me: LeBron Wins MVP

5/14/12 in NBA   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

May 5, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts at the end of the game against the Dallas Mavericks during game four of the 2012 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. The Thunder beat the Mavs 103-97.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIREMy MVP: Kevin Durant. This guy had an exceptional season and posted numbers quite similar to LeBron's. I'll put their numbers side by side for you. LeBron/Durant: 27.1/28 PPG, 7.9/8.0 RPG, 6.2/3.5 APG. Obviously the assists are the big difference, but Durant slightly bettered LeBron in the other two categories. I'm simply trying to show that their numbers are similar. Stats aren't the reason that LeBron's MVP bothers me. The main reason is what Kevin Durant was able to do for his Oklahoma City Thunder team.

Imagine a world where the Trail Blazers didn't pass on Kevin Durant. Actually, that would make the Blazers a playoff team, so just imagine a world where Kevin Durant doesn't exist. That would leave the Thunder with Russell Westbrook and James Harden running the show, and defensive role players filling the other positions. I must say, I LOVE Harden. Can't say I'm a big Westbrook fan, but I do believe he's quite gifted athletically. These guys don't pass much. Westbrook averaged 5.5 assists this season, and I'd love to know how many of those were simply swinging the ball to Durant for a jump shot. Harden is the more talented passer of the two, despite averaging less assists (3.7), but he's still no pure point guard. These guys score, that's what they do, and they happen to be very good at it. Two score first guards and a bunch of defensive role players. Hmm, who does that sound like? Oh! Sounds like the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks' goal is to put up points with guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis while big men focus on rebounding and defense. Quite similar to how the Thunder would operate without Durant, right? Don't think I'm an idiot just yet, I know that the Thunder would be better than the Bucks. Westbrook and Harden is a better tandem than Jennings and Ellis. Perkins and Ibaka are better defensively than the Bucks' bigs. But it's clear that these teams are similar, and the Bucks missed the playoffs in a significantly weaker eastern conference.

The Durant-less Thunder would find themselves dropping to at least the 5th seed in the west, being passed by the Lakers, Grizzlies, and Clippers. It's quite possible they would even end up falling behind the Nuggets and the Mavericks as well. The Thunder without Durant would be somewhere between the 5th and 7th seed, but with Durant they were 2nd in the conference. THAT is an MVP. Kevin Durant propelled his team from mediocrity to excellence, and that's why he is more VALUABLE than LeBron James.
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