By Telema Davies
Miami Heat may be HOT favourite for a third consecutive NBA title having secured a playoffs berth and the Eastern division title, yet competition is a lot hotter in the race for the most valuable player in the league for the 2013/2014 season. Apparently, certain key players and favourites as nominees have improved on their games as the campaign reaches to a decisive summit.
LeBron ‘The King’ James is very much on the cards and a huge candidate for the MVP title for a third season. However, it’s his co-contenders that are heating up the race as they keep making the headlines week-in week-out. Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant have helped drive the ambitions of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder respectively, to great lengths this season.
All three men have made the NBA All-Star cut this term as they have in the last couple of years, with LeBron James having the highest inclusion (9 times). Though the oldest of them all, James leads the pack as he looks to guide the Heat to an impressive and franchise record title having endured some grueling encounters that saw a slump in form for the Easterners.
Griffin and Durant (both 25 years) have it all to play for in contention for the championship with the latter already making history for his team this campaign as he records a personal best, averaging a minimum score of 25 points per game (PPG) in over 40 consecutive games hence, diminishing the record of Michael Jordan but falling five short of Oscar Robertson’s 46 in a row in 1963/64.
Durant’s record is far more than points scored as he’s developed into a more rounded figure on the court. He’s emerged as a team player becoming “unselfish, a willing passer and a facilitator,” according to his teammate, Caron Butler. “That’s the growth of his game,” Butler went further to state. Durant’s approach to the game stands out from the best of the pack on the court.
With the development of his game and that leadership performance Durant keeps bringing to play to the benefit of his team, it’s no surprise that this forward will make a back-to-back appearance in the play-offs en route the title. Consistency, according to his teammates, has been the key factor in his game. And that’s no shocker, really. He thinks about how the team is playing and what to do to help the team.
This will be the first ever MVP award for the young native of Washington D.C. whose career achievements are considered second best in the NBA today behind LeBron James. Both players came head –to-head in the 2012 NBA Finals, as Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Miami Heat in five games. Familiar frenemies you might call them; but these two men keep lighting up the world of basketball and for good reasons.
So who wears the crown? Perhaps, another encounter in the Finals might just prove to be the deciding feature.