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Feb 20, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) handles the ball while being guarded by Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James, not Kevin Durant, is the favorite to win NBA MVP

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant won the 2013-2014 NBA MVP Award keeping then Miami Heat and current Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward LeBron James from capturing his fifth trophy.

Although James is the superior player in most people’s eyes, Durant was certainly deserving of the award. However, Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders believes James is still the favorite to win MVP entering the 2014-2015 season.

LeBron has to be considered the odds-on favorite, more because of the story than his play. On a season-long basis, Durant was actually superior to him last year, although I think the playoffs proved LeBron is still the superior player. But now, James will be the great story going home to Cleveland and improving that team, whether or not Love goes there. Plus, Durant won it last year despite not necessarily being the better of the two.

James averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 56.7% from the field, 37.9% from three and 75.0% from the charity stripe last season. In the playoffs, he went for 27.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 56.5% from the floor, 40.7% from beyond the arc and 80.6% from the free throw line. In his career, he’s gone for 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 49.7% from the field, 34.1% from beyond the arc and 74.7% from the charity stripe.

Durant averaged 27.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 50.3% from the field, 39.1% from beyond the arc and 87.3% from the free throw line during the regular season. Then, he averaged 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 46.0% from the floor, 34.4% from beyond the arc and 81.0% from the charity stripe in the postseason. In his career, he’s averaged 27.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 47.9% from the field, 37.7% from three and 88.2% from the free throw line.

Be sure to check FanSided’s official NBA page to keep up to date on the latest news and rumors from around the league all summer long.

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Durant Lebron James Oklahoma City Thunder

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