After winning his fourth MVP award in five seasons, Miami Heat‘s LeBron James has joined some rarefied air. Only Wilt Chamberlin, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, and Michael Jordan have won the award at least four times, and James joins Russell as the only player to win it four times in a five year span. In all honesty, James should have won back in 2010, giving him his fifth, but due to his backlash from the decision, the media viewed him negatively and gave the award to a much deserving Derrick Rose. Even so, winning the award as much as James has puts him on a completely different level than most other players in the league.
Every offseason James works feverishly to improve some aspect of his game, which makes it hard to see any other player even touching him in terms of talent right now. This upcoming season may bring James a fifth MVP award, but I believe there will be a player to step up and challenge James for the Maurice Podoloff trophy. He goes by the name of Kevin Durant.
Durant has taken the league by storm with his brilliant offensive abilities, but the one knock on his game has been his lack of defensive aggressiveness. Over the course of the last few seasons, though, Durant has worked on his defensive prowess and increased his rebounds, blocks and steals averages. Durant has the prototypical build to be a great defender, being 6-foot-9, with a wingspan of well over 7-foot-3. With a Russell Westbrook returning from injury, expect the Oklahoma City Thunder to once again claim the top spot in the Western Conference and help close the gap between Durant and James. Durant will have to maintain his averages of 1.3 bpg and 1.4 spg and increase his offensive numbers from last season in order to snatch the MVP award away from James. If any player has a chance of accomplishing this feat, it is Durant.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com.
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