The king has fallen.
Kevin Durant has officially been named the 2014 NBA MVP, ending LeBron James’ two-year reign at the league’s throne. It marks the first time since he entered the NBA in 2007 that Durant has come away with the prestigious honor.
Following his seventh – and best – season in the NBA, Durant was assumed to be crowned MVP of the 2013-14 campaign. As expected, the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s star captured 119 of 125 first-place votes after averaging 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.
For years, fans have been lobbying for Durant to receive his first MVP award, but have watched him fall well short of James in the voting process. However, this season, Durant took his game to the next level, routinely putting up huge numbers and dominating his opponents in ways we’ve yet to see from the Thunder’s All-Star forward. Just look at his 14 games of 40-plus points as evidence of his elevated game and ability to carry his team.
James finished second in voting after winning the award in four out of the last five seasons. Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah and Houston Rockets’ James Harden rounded out the top five finishers.
Put simply, Durant absolutely deserves this latest recognition of his elite talents. While James will surely win another MVP or two before his playing days are over, it’s great to see that Durant has given the king a run for his money as the best player in the NBA. At least in 2013-14, he was the best player in the NBA.
Who knows? Maybe Durant will eclipse James in the next couple of years and quiet the critics once and for all. It seems unlikely, but crazier things have happened.