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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

Kevin Durant’s ascension to the NBA MVP was far from a single-season epiphany. Along with LeBron James, Durant’s the only player in the league to finish in the top five in award voting each of the past five seasons.

He 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:

2009-10

MVP top five

1. LeBron James: 1,205 points (116 first-place votes)

2. Kevin Durant: 609 points (4)

3. Kobe Bryant: 599 points

4. Dwight Howard: 478 points (3)

5. Dwyane Wade: 119 points

Explanation: In each of his seven seasons, Durant has made large leaps. But none might have been bigger than Year 2 to 3. He went from a young, inefficient scorer on one of the league’s worst teams to a first-time All-Star, the NBA’s leading scorer and the MVP runner-up on a playoff team all in a span of 12 months.

2010-11

MVP top five

1. Derrick Rose: 1,182 points (113 first-place votes)

2. Dwight Howard: 643 points (3)

3. LeBron James: 522 points (4)

4. Kobe Bryant: 428 points (1)

5. Kevin Durant: 190 points

Explanation: Durant’s growth remained steady in these early years, but 2010-11 provided more MVP competition than he had previously faced. Rose was the league’s breakout star, Howard was at his peak, LeBron was LeBron and Kobe was at the tail end of his greatness. Meanwhile, Durant was only 22.

2011-12

MVP top five

1. LeBron James: 1,074 points (85 first-place votes)

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com'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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