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LeBron all but concedes, says ‘it would be great’ if Kevin Durant won MVP

Apr 9, 2014, 9:02 PM EDT

LeBron James, Kevin Durant LeBron James, Kevin Durant

LeBron James isn’t ready to give up the title of the game’s best player, and few if any careful observers would be willing to take it from him just yet.

But the MVP award is different, in that it’s based solely on a single season’s body of work, and it’s largely subjective.

It would be easy (though perhaps lazy) to cast a first place vote for LeBron once again, considering he’s won the award in four out of the last five seasons. But even James himself seems to be at peace with the fact that Kevin Durant may have had a season more worthy of that historic level of recognition.

From Joe Goodman of the Miami Herald:

LeBron James has won two-straight MVP Awards and four in the last five years, so he knows a thing or two about the type of basketball it takes to earn the NBA’s most coveted individual prize. According to James, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder has done the most to deserve the award.

All but conceding the race to Durant, James said on Wednesday in Memphis that “it would be great” if Durant won the award.

“I think K.D. has had one heck of a season, and if he was rewarded with the MVP, it would be great,” James said. “It would be awesome for him, for his family. It would be a great thing for him. He has played MVP-type basketball.”

James went on to say that Durant has been “the most consistent basketball player as far as MVP this year. He has put up some great numbers.”

This is LeBron simply coming to terms publicly with what most have assumed for the past couple of months.

Durant’s value to the Thunder’s place in the standings, and the ridiculous scoring displays he’s put on to help his team get there are simply more worthy of the award this season that what James has done for the Heat.

It’s by no means a definitive decision as to who is the better player, because most would still side with LeBron if given that choice. But the MVP has a lot that goes into it; the fact that Durant has done enough this season to give voters a legitimate opportunity to erase their penciled-in votes for James is definitely worth celebrating.

And even LeBron himself realizes it.

  1. spyder9669 - Apr 9, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    Durant is better than Lebron regardless. Much more lethal everywhere on the court.

    • grantgoodman93 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      Better scorer perhaps. Not a better overall game. Not quite there defensively or in the passing/vision that LeBron possesses.

    • ranfan12 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      blake dark horse mvp? top 3 pick or something

      • casualcommenter - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Calling him a dark horse is a bit of a stretch because I don’t see him earning many MVP votes over either Durant or LeBron (much less both). However, I definitely could see Blake Griffin showing up on a lot of MVP ballots as people’s 3rd or 4th choice.

        He’s averaging 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists per game on 53% shooting, and the Clippers are the third best team in the NBA by win-loss record. He stepped up his game nicely without CP3, and CP3 has been willing to defer to him at times after coming back from injury.

      • kanemoney - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:44 AM

        He’s not even the best player on his own team… sorry bro

      • nyheels29 - Apr 10, 2014 at 9:07 AM

        Blake will definitely come in 3rd in the MVP voting.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      Lethal? Call me when he has ten 50 point games like LeBron, instead of just four… or even if Durant ever makes 8 threes in a game, which he has never done.

      There is no more lethal a scorer in the game than LeBron. Guys like KD, Melo and Kobe are all less consistent and more likely to shoot 30% or less because they take so many jumpers. Sometimes, when KD is really off, you want him to keep chucking those threes like he did against the Suns (4-15). You’d never see LeBron doing something ignorant like that.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:21 AM

        LeBron has also played longer than Durant, it would be logical for him to have higher career totals in a lot of counting stats.

        Durant scored 25 points in 41 straight games, a feat that only Wilt Chamberlain has beat. Not even Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Karl Malone were able to do that.

  2. jbeagles23 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Better and MVP don’t go hand in hand

    • antistratfordian - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      We are all aware of this (Derrick Rose).

      • kanemoney - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:45 AM

        Injuries bro… injuries…

      • antistratfordian - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:48 AM

        Rose wasn’t better than LeBron in 2011. He would’ve never been better than LeBron.

    • money2long - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      you are missing a vital point in that you should have said it doesn’t ALWAYS go hand in hand.

      MVP is an award that highlights a particular moment in time. so of course it isn’t a representation of a player’s overall talent more than it is a reflection of a player’s worth. hence the term value.

      it’s the reason why, had danny green not flamed out in the finals, was certainly on his way to being named an MVP. and all smart basketball fans know he isn’t the best even on his team.

      i don’t know why people think mvp is noting talent. it is not. it is regarding an athlete’s value. there are times, however, when the best player does indeed win the most valuable player.

  3. jbeagles23 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Only in public forums do people believe Durant is a better basketball player

    • trevor123698 - Apr 10, 2014 at 5:38 AM

      only in forums will a moron show this type of confidence in somehow who needed it fixed for him to win. KD is far superior.

      • reesesteel23 - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        It would be easier to debate and take this site more seriously if people didn’t say things like this……far superior?

        I mean Come on Man.

  4. money2long - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    there are people out there who are too overly, creepily obsessed with lebron that they will ignore everything and think they are giving KD the award, yes i said giving, not awarding. kd has earned it, or i should say, would have earned it. he will not just get this honor because they don’t want lebron to have it three times in a row. basketball fans just have to accept that kd has done what needs to be done to be acknowledged of the feat of most valuable player.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      In terms of individual numbers, Durant is outrebounding LeBron, significantly outscoring LeBron with almost the exact same effective field goal percentage (which factors in how Durant shoots more three point shots that are lower percentage but more valuable), and is averaging almost as many assists as LeBron. OKC has won more games than the Heat despite playing in the much tougher Western conference.

      I supported LeBron over KD last year, but KD earned it this year.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      LeBron’s MVP case is just as good, if not better. Talk about “value”…. LeBron is his team’s best passer, best rebounder, best defender and best scorer. He’s made more threes this year than Ray Allen (111 to 110), and he’s STILL shooting 57% from the field (the only player in history to do that – something that is vastly under appreciated but more remarkable than anything Durant has ever done in his entire career). All of that while going through 20 different starting lineups, and missing Wade for 27 games. So who else in the world is bringing more value than LeBron?

      There is nobody else.

      Durant cannot compete with that. Michael Jordan cannot even compete with that.

      LeBron is probably the most valuable player in history, precisely because of all the things he’s doing this year.

      • money2long - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:05 PM

        Lol. Anti ….
        You’re a tool

    • reesesteel23 - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Most fans are aware that KD has earned it and played better this year….You guys judge an entire fan base off of like 2 obsessive Heat trolls on PBT.

  5. antistratfordian - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    LeBron was also very modest when he said Derrick Rose deserved the MVP in 2011. We all know who the better player is though.

    Maybe, one day, if Durant can put up 6-7 seasons like this one, he can get up on LeBron’s level. Right now he’s just 2003 Tracy McGrady level.

    • usavebob - Apr 10, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      Last year’s 50-40-90 mustn’t count for anything…. along with the scoring titles. He’s gotten better, stronger and he’s only 25. It will be great watching the only two super elite players over the next 5 years or so.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:12 PM

        50-40-90 is perfectly fine, but it was done 11 times before Durant did it last year, and by players who are not that great, so it’s only so significant. But what LeBron is doing this year – 57% from the field, 38% from three – no one has ever done before. (It’s pretty unbelievable that someone can shoot 57% from the field and still lead his team in three point makes. LeBron has made more threes this year than Ray Allen.)

        Durant’s season this year would rank as perhaps LeBron’s 6th best? 7th best?

    • chicitybulls - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      Rose deserved the award that year. He lead his team to the best record in the league that year. We all know how you love to slurp lebron but even hookers get a day off. Relax, it’ll be ok. lebron is still good.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Thibs deserved Coach of the Year. Rose deserved a pat on the back. LeBron deserved MVP for being the best and most productive two-way player in the league and still finding a way to win 58 games whilst facing historically unprecedented obstacles. Rose would’ve crumbled under the same pressure (not unlike what he did in the playoffs that year.)

      • chicitybulls - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        “historically unprecedented obstacles”??? Ok, I can see who/what I’m dealing with. I can’t have a rational conversation with you. You’re either irrational or a child. Either way, there’s no point in continuing.

  6. seattlesuperchronic - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    antistratfordian

    I’ve been reading your comments all year, this is the saltiest I’ve ever read. The MVP isn’t a lifetime achievement award.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:30 PM

      No one said it was. LeBron is absolutely deserving of the MVP for his play this year.

      And I haven’t even begun to bring the salt. In fact my most salty posts don’t even get posted – including another one above that you’re probably never going to see.

      • notinmyhouse56 - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:07 AM

        Anti I’ve already started the discussion under another threat, I quote
        “All right. From what I can say, relying on statistics – Kevin Durant has had a bigger positive impact on the game, scoring more points, grabbing more rebounds, having a higher PER and win-shares. His team has also won more games. If that is not sufficient for you there is also that unmeasurable feature – impressive achievements. Durant has put on this flamboyant streak of 25+ games, he has lead his team to a great record while missing Westbrook, he has been a clutch deliverer down the stretch, having a few wonderful moments in late-game situations and hitting game winners. The question is – why in the world would LeBron James merit the 2013-14 MVP award?”
        Please, respond this time. I would also beg you to respond with objectivity and with strong arguments. OOPS I guess it’s too much to ask from a person who is more biased about LeBron than himself is.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:13 AM

        Durant plays more minutes on a team that gets more possessions a game. His per game averages compared to LeBron are misleading.

        PER and win-share are not absolute and obviously have a margin of error which LeBron is in.

        And I responded last time. They didn’t allow it. I’ll try again and see what happens. If you don’t see another reply from me after this then you know it’s been blocked again.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:41 AM

        I’ll try again….

        It’s very simple. Name another player on a top seed that leads their team in scoring, leads their team in rebounds, leads their team in assists, leads their team in steals, leads their team in three point makes, leads their team in field goal percentage, while ALSO being their team’s best defender…

        Who could possibly be more valuable than that? Nobody.

        I don’t even have to mention the records LeBron is setting this year with his stat line.

      • notinmyhouse56 - Apr 10, 2014 at 4:45 AM

        Ok, I apologise then for my little aggressive tone.
        I guess that playing less minutes and in general ‘coasting’ is in favor of LeBron? How is that so?

      • antistratfordian - Apr 10, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        LeBron is the only player in the league leading his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, total steals, three pointers and field goal percentage while also being his team’s best defender. No one has to do so much for their team on a nightly basis. That alone should make this an open and shut case, but I will continue anyway…

        Durant plays alongside Serge Ibaka, a 2x First Team All-Defensive player, who leads the league in total blocks for the 4th year in a row. The only All-Defensive player on the Miami Heat is LeBron James – he doesn’t have the luxury of another All-Defensive teammate. (LeBron doesn’t even have another All-NBA teammate to rely on this year.)

        Durant can afford to do what he did yesterday, not being able to throw a rock in the ocean (8-26 .308), and the Thunder can still rescue him because Westbrook is a top 5-10 player and Serge Ibaka is a First Team All-Defensive player. Miami cannot afford for LeBron to shoot .308% in any game – so James has less margin for error (probably why he only has 5 games under 40% shooting, compared to Durant’s 13).

        On top of that, James is putting up a one-of-a-kind statistical season. No one has averaged 27/7/6 on 57% shooting before (no one has even averaged 25/5/5 on 56% shooting, let alone LeBron’s line). No one has shot 57% from the field and 38% from three before (to be more precise, he’s shooting .569 and .376 – but everything still applies). No one has made 100 threes shooting 57% from the field before. No one has even made 50 threes shooting at least 56% from the field before (!!!), so LeBron is really blowing history out of the water in this regard. He’s opening up a whole new world of possibilities as far as a prolific three point shooter and elite scorer also being able to shoot almost 60% from the field. So LeBron is trailblazing in 2014 (what Durant has been doing has already been done by others before him, and done better).

        And if that wasn’t impressive enough, James has accomplished this in a season when the Heat have trotted out 19 to 20 different starting lineups (last year they used 6 different starting lineups). 14 different players have started games for Miami this year – and we all know about Wade missing 27 games.

        But wait, there’s more! He’s also doing it in a season after he’s already won 2 consecutive MVPs and 2 consecutive rings and Finals MVPs. Durant should be a lot hungrier – but is he? People bring up Durant’s PER advantage, but LeBron and Durant are only separated by 0.8 points in that metric, well within any margin of error.

        Considering all of that – and the fact that, like the Thunder, the Heat are a top 2 seed in their conference (and will probably end up the top seed) – I think LeBron’s case for MVP is stronger than Durant’s, which is built primarily on shooting and supported mainly by the public’s naive fascination with scoring totals.

        ”Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    • money2long - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      MVP is an award that highlights a particular moment in time. so of course it isn’t a representation of a player’s overall talent more than it is a reflection of a player’s worth. hence the term value. it’s the reason why, had danny green not flamed out in the finals, was certainly on his way to being named an MVP. and all smart basketball fans know he isn’t the best even on his team.

  7. bowens3181 - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    There are two different qualifications that need to be separated from each other when discussing the MVP in any sport:
    1. Who is the best player in the game?
    2. Who is the most deserving of the MVP award based on the criteria usually used to determine MVP trophies.
    People tend to ignore the fact that these are totally different questions. The answer to one doesn’t determine the answer to the other. KD was unquestionably the most valuable player in basketball this season, and should, and will get the MVP award. Lebron is unquestionably still the best basketball player on the planet. Arguing against either of these facts would either mean that you are biased against/for one of the two players, or you are just clueless.
    Take your pick.

  8. kb2408 - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    KD: 32pts, 8rebs, 6assists, 51%fg, 41% on 3’s
    LBJ: 27pts, 7rebs, 6assists, 57%fg, 38% on 3’s
    LBJ fans have always pointed to his all around brilliance as the major reason why he’s the best in the world….well, as you can see, KD’s stats are actually just as good, if not better, across the board. LBJ looks more imposing than KD and some of you get blinded by all his powerful dunks. But if KD is not the best player in the world, the gap is not as big as some of you want to make it out to be. The only thing seperating KD and LBJ is a couple of rings. And don’t give me the defense argument. LBJ is not the same defensively as he was a season or two ago and KD has gotten much better defensively.

  9. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:37 AM

    Durant definitely deserves it. I heard he scored at least 23.7 points in elevety-nine straight games! That’s a record. There’s a trophy and everything.

  10. kb2408 - Apr 10, 2014 at 1:43 AM

    I gave compelling reasons (backed up with stats) why KD is just as good as LBJ, if not better, but of course my comment probably won’t show up. Some of these writers won’t post your comments if you have a different opinion than they do….or if you’re not riding LBJ’s jock.

  11. 32magicman - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:12 AM

    How bad was Lebron’s reaction to being blocked at the end of the game vs Brooklyn. Ran up and down complaining to the refs. Stood in the race watching the replay over and over and grabbing his wrist telling everyone in the vicinity he was fouled. Looked completely class-less. just like ‘the decision’. just like putting himself in the top 4 all time. egomaniac. Thats why i like kd better.

  12. divan22 - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    Durant definitely deserves it this year. Doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the better player.

  13. batoujitsu - Apr 10, 2014 at 2:53 AM

    The mvp award is usually about regular season success.

    First you look at the team with the best record and see if anyone had mvp numbers, if not then you look at the 2nd best record and look the mvp numbers…

    This is how nash won mvps before even if kobe had monster numbers for the year

  14. kanemoney - Apr 10, 2014 at 3:49 AM

    Durant was simply better this year, both individually and in relative comparison to his roster (which suffered many injuries).

    I am sick of people who simply assume Lebron should win it every year. His style of basketball is awesome. He does make his teammates better. He is ruthlessly efficient. He also has a roster comprised of players who are all much better than their contracts. Few other teams have this luxury.

    I am a huge LBJ fan, but Durant was just flat out ridiculous. In the regular season he had stretches where he was simply unstoppable. It was one of the best individual seasons in recent years for any player.

  15. davidly - Apr 10, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    The notion that LBJ does not still deserve consideration for MVP this season ignores too many basketball realities to take seriously. It has been pointed out how much Durant has done with Westbrook out, rightfully so. But LBJ has carried the Heat in Wade’s absence. Based upon most of the arbitrary metrics that go into awarding regular season MVP, you may as well give it to both of them.

    Personally, I support a more unusual approach to MVP — but it does contain one similar bromide: Which player is more valuable to his team than any other player his? I have repeatedly used Lamar Odom’s 6th Man season as an example: he started, he came off the bench, he started some more, he came off the bench, all the while keeping his team in first place and keeping the locker room positive. Had it not been for Odom that year, not only would his team not have been a contender to repeat their title, they would have imploded way earlier than getting swept by the Mavs.

    This season, who does that award go to?

  16. jbeagles23 - Apr 10, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Davidly. Beat post you’ve ever written. If we’re talking most valuable to their team this year is say Noah

    • davidly - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      That is precisely the kind of unconventional approach I mean, jbeagles, and I while I didn’t have anyone specific in mind, Noah, I would agree, is about a good a choice as any. Of course, if he were to actually get the award, NBA fandom would have a collective conniption.

  17. leahcima1 - Apr 10, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Class act Lebron. Honesty and character trump the haters. (You listening cantonjerk0)

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