Durant’s MVP quest at both ends of floor
With 9:17 left in the second quarter of Monday night's 107-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, Thunder forward Kevin Durant committed a turnover underneath his own basket. Four seconds later, Durant swatted away a for-sure two points for former Oklahoma State guard James Anderson, which gave OKC the ball right back. If Durant is to become the league's Most Valuable Player, which very well could happen this season and beyond, the aspect of his game that could help him garner enough votes is his defense, not his offense. Durant has always been able to score, which he continues to show at a 27.1-point clip (third in the league). He's always been able to pass, which he is doing more frequently (a career-high 4.2 assists) and with better accuracy. Early this season, Durant hit the boards hard and said he wanted to average a double-double, a goal which has faded although he still is averaging a career-high and team-high 8.3 rebounds. But it is hustle plays like the one above that will stand out with voters who question the full scope of Durant's skills. Those MVP-type sequences will no longer belong solely to three-time selection LeBron James of the Miami Heat. Durant is averaging 1.4 blocks this season, roughly double what he averaged his first two seasons in the league. Thunder coach Scott Brooks continually preaches defense to anyone who will listen and insists it is key to his team's success. When Durant sprints down court and swats away a four-point swing, you tend to start believing Brooks. -- John Rohde
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