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Oklahoma City Thunder: A year-by-year look at Kevin Durant's rise to MVP

Kevin Durant finally got over the hump this year, but it’s an honor that’s been brewing for a half-decade. Let’s look at his rise, year-by-year for the past five seasons.
by Anthony Slater Published: May 13, 2014

2. Kevin Durant: 889 points (24)

3. Chris Paul: 385 points (6)

4. Kobe Bryant: 352 points (2)

5. Tony Parker: 331 points (4)

Explanation: The spectacular scoring numbers had always been there. But this is when Durant experienced a noticeable bump in efficiency. After never shooting better than 47 percent, Durant bumped that clip up to nearly 50. He was taking smarter shots and making a lot more. This was the closest he got to an MVP before finally winning it in 2013-14.


MVP top five

1. LeBron James: 1,207 points (120 first-place votes)

2. Kevin Durant: 765 points

3. Carmelo Anthony: 475 points (1)

4. Chris Paul: 289 points

5. Kobe Bryant: 184 points

Explanation: His defense continued to get better. His improved playmaking was on full display, with a career-high in assists. And his efficiency was at a historic rate, becoming only the sixth player ever to join the 50-40-90 club. But MVP-wise, Durant’s marked improvements in all areas were all for naught. LeBron’s career year trumped Durant’s, highlighted by a legendary 27-game win streak. This award was always his.


MVP top five

1. Kevin Durant: 1,232 points (119 first-place votes)

2. LeBron James: 891 points (6)

3. Blake Griffin: 434 points

4. Joakim Noah: 322 points

5. James Harden: 85 points

Explanation: Durant’s spectacular play and steady improvements were finally paired with the proper circumstances. Because of Russell Westbrook’s injury issues, Durant was forced to shoulder a heavier load. And he responded, leading the Thunder to 59 wins and putting together the best stretch of his life during a 15-2 mid-January stretch without Westbrook. James didn’t lose this award. Durant took it.

By Anthony Slater

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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