Kevin Durant Is Building A Strong Early Resume for MVP Honors

By Tony Ramsey
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Even before the 2012-13 season began, NBA superstar and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant already had a career resume that most players can only dream about. Durant has won three consecutive scoring titles and made it to the NBA Finals, all by his fifth season in the league. But scoring is only a fraction of the equation.

Every season since being drafted number two overall in 2007, Durant has continually raised the level of his game another notch than the year before. Durant’s continued improvement is making the debate over who is the best player in the world more competitive than ever.

Durant is essentially a 6’9”-plus shooting guard due to his ability to play on the perimeter, prompting some to label him as one-dimensional early in his career. But Durant’s statistical contributions prove he’s more than just a scorer. He has raised his rebounds per game average almost every year, from 4.4 rebounds in 2007-08 to 8.0 rebounds last season to 8.5 this year. That improvement alone is just as impressive as his scoring numbers.

Durant’s improvement doesn’t stop at the boards. KD35 is also averaging a career-high 4.4 assists per game this season, a testament to his off-season work with fellow Olympian LeBron James. Durant has worked on his ball-handling and the results are evident by his rising assist totals and lower turnover rate (from 3.8 in ’11-12 to 3.3 so far this season).

Examining Durant’s offensive statistical growth only tells half of the story, though. Durant has picked his play up defensively as well, averaging career-highs in both steals (1.6) and blocks (1.6). One-dimensional? He is far from it.

Throw in the fact that Durant is on pace for a 50/40/90 season (currently shooting .514 from the field, .455 from three-point range and .903 from the charity stripe), and you have the definition of a complete player and a NBA Fantasy stat sheet stuffer. Only a handful of NBA sharp-shooters have accomplished this feat: two-time MVP Steve Nash, 2007 MVP Dirk NowitzkiMark Price and Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Reggie Miller.

Kevin Durant has transformed himself from one of the NBA’s premier scorers to one of its best all-around players, in just less than six seasons. Not only is Durant’s production worthy of praise, it’s also the type of resume Most Valuable Player award campaigns are built on.

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