Kevin Durant just cannot catch a break. The league's most prolific scorer is about to complete a historic 50-40-90 shooting season, one of the most amazing in NBA history. Yet LeBron James from the Miami Heat is considered to be the unanimous choice for MVP.
At least Durant was locked in to win the league's scoring title for a fourth consecutive season. It would serve as a nice consolation prize for the league's most dangerous scorer, who had led the NBA in that category for most of the regular season.
However, a late-season surge from New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has threatened to take the title away from the Oklahoma City superstar. Durant's scoring average of 28.3 points per game as of April 9, 2013 has been eclipsed by Anthony, who holds a narrow lead at 28.6 points per game.
LeBron James has been drawing a lot of comparisons to the all-time greats as of late. His recent six-game streak of scoring 30 points while shooting 60 percent from the field is one piece of evidence that we are witnessing an all-time great entering his prime. "King James" has raised his level of play to such a level of excellence that his NBA peers simply cannot match.
If he is above comparison to most current NBA superstars, then the next logical place to weigh and compare his greatness to is the past. After finally winning that elusive first championship ring last season, he is drawing more comparisons to all-time greats Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson instead of current rivals Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
James has a long way to go before matching Jordan or Magic, but there is one all-time great that he could legitimately surpass in the next couple of seasons: Larry Bird. This should be the primary target for LeBron as overtaking Bird would elevate the "King" to a new title: the greatest small forward to ever play the game.
Led by the young star trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, the Oklahoma City Thunder have surged (no pun intended) to a 17-4 record and are tied with San Antonio for the best record in the NBA. There are many factors to consider when assessing the team's immense success so far this season, but perhaps the most important of all is the improved play of their superstar leader.
Kevin Durant is simply playing the best basketball of his career. The league's reigning scoring champion made a dramatic leap forward during last year's postseason run to the NBA Finals and is keeping that momentum going into this season. What is perhaps more remarkable is that he has improved at nearly every single aspect of his game, which is a scary development for the rest of the NBA. This is why he is a leading candidate to win the 2013 NBA MVP award.