Kevin Durant's Knee Injury Essentially Eliminates Him From NBA MVP Race

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant. / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll be the first to say it. 

There is no way that Kevin Durant can win the NBA’s MVP award this season. 

That’s right. Rip up your tickets. 

Unfortunately for Durant, the Brooklyn Nets, and the rest of us NBA fans, KD will miss at least four-to-six weeks with a knee injury.

So why is KD out of the running for MVP even though the Nets are one of the best teams in the East? It has nothing to do with his play, but rather with the history of the award. 

The oddsmakers at WynnBET have already dropped Durant out of the top five to win MVP, but I’m going to advise you to resist the temptation to buy low on his odds at this point in the season. 

Latest Odds to Win NBA MVP This Season

  • Stephen Curry: +160
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo: +300
  • Nikola Jokic: +800
  • Joel Embiid: +1000
  • Ja Morant: +1000
  • Kevin Durant: +1200
  • Luka Doncic: +3000
  • LeBron James: +4000
  • DeMar DeRozan: +4000
  • James Harden: +7500
  • Devin Booker: +7500
  • Jimmy Butler: +7500
  • Chris Paul: +7500

Why Kevin Durant Won’t Win MVP in 2021-22 Season

On the surface, Kevin Durant has the numbers to still be in the MVP conversation. He’s averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 52.0 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from deep. 

However, Durant has already missed seven games this season, and if he is held out even for the minimum of four weeks, he’d add another 15 games if he returned after Feb. 16, which is the four-week mark for the injury. 

That would mean that Durant could play a maximum of 60 games this season, and he’d be bucking a major trend if he won the MVP award this season. 

In NBA history, only three players have won an MVP award playing fewer than 70 games in the season. 

  • Giannis Antetokunmpo (63 games) – 2019-20 season (was shortened by COVID-19 pandemic)
  • LeBron James (62 games) – 2011-12 season (66-game lockout season)
  • Karl Malone (49 games) – 1998-99 season (50-game lockout season)
  • Bill Walton (58 games) – 1977-78 season
  • Bill Russell (69 games) – 1957-58 season (72-game season)
  • Bob Cousy (64 games) – 1956-57 season (72-game season)

So essentially, playing a minimum of 85 percent of your team's games is necessary to win the MVP award. I’m not making the criteria, I’m just looking at the history. 

We saw Joel Embiid’s injury last season cost him the MVP award against Nikola Jokic, despite the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. 

No matter what Durant does numbers wise, he simply isn’t going to play enough games to be deemed the league’s most valuable player. Availability matters, and whether it's Durant's fault or not, he’s not going to be available for the Nets in the middle of this season. 

Don’t fall into the idea of buying low on KD, there are safer and more qualified candidates on the board to win this award in the 2021-22 season.