Lost in all the chaos surrounding the Houston Rockets‘ historic second half collapse against the Oklahoma City Thunder is the stellar performance from Kevin Durant. More specifically, Kevin Durant is balling on an MVP level, and his 36-point performance in a comeback victory over the Rockets is a great early-season moment to help cement his case. Of course, there will always be plenty of LeBron James supporters by season’s end, but the way Durant is performing without his point guard Russell Westbrook is impressive.
Now I know that Dwyane Wade is constantly in and out of the lineup for the Miami Heat, but imagine if Wade were to miss games months at a time. I have a feeling there would be an endless stream of excuses coming from Miami for their inability to perform up to their lofty expectations while Durant has put the Thunder’s fortunes on his own shoulders for better or worse.
Obviously, we can only go off of hypothetical situations when judging how James would perform if Wade missed as much time as Westbrook has, but Durant is leading his team in ways many people weren’t aware that he was capable. With that being said, the Thunder currently sit in third place in the Western Conference standings behind the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers — a feat that displays an amazing amount of perseverance for Durant and Oklahoma City.
The way Durant has kept his team together as a unit without Westbrook is one of his strongest cases for being worthy of the MVP Award, so don’t go throwing names like Tony Parker and Kevin Love into the conversation at this point. The Spurs are always in this position when healthy, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are currently below .500. Just look at the film of Oklahoma City erasing that 14-point halftime deficit in the third quarter, and you’ll see who the true MVP of the NBA really is.