Make no mistake about it — the Brooklyn Nets have been through some stuff this year. From Kyrie Irving’s vaccination saga to Covid outbreaks, key injuries, James Harden’s conditioning issues, Blake Griffin getting benched and beyond, it’s a small miracle the team has performed as well as it has.
While there’s credit to go around for the performance to date, Kevin Durant deserves the lion’s share. Brooklyn’s leader on the court has been having an MVP-type season in the face of some wild circumstances.
As great as he has been in 2021-22, though, he faces stiff competition in actually securing the year-end honor in the form of his former Golden State Warriors teammate Stephen Curry, who — recent struggles aside — has led his club to the league’s best record as of this writing.
On January 6, Michael Scotto put out HoopsHype‘s latest media poll for the NBA MVP race. In an effort to establish a pecking order, Scotto and Co. anonymously polled 20 media members who voted on last year’s awards, asking each to give their MVP top five. Here’s how things shape up where Steph and KD are concerned…
Durant Ranks Second in the MVP Poll
Neither the Warriors nor the Nets have been playing with a full deck throughout the season, however, Durant has arguably been dealt the lesser hand where player availability is concerned. Nevertheless, he was the No. 2 selection overall for those polled here.
Curry was the top choice, and he managed to beat out Durant by a fairly significant margin. The Warriors star locked down 82.5% of the maximum point amount possible. Meanwhile, Durant’s score totaled 66.5% of max.
Just like the official vote, the top-ranked player on each ballot received 10 points. From there, the second received seven points, the third received five points, the fourth received three and the fifth got one.
Scotto summarized Durant’s candidacy as follows:
Durant is leading the league in total field goals (338) and points per game (29.8) while on pace to win his fifth scoring title.
With Kyrie Irving out all season until he debuted against the Pacers on Jan. 5, and James Harden working himself into shape to begin the year, Durant has averaged the second-most minutes per game (37.1) while carrying the Nets on his back to the East’s second-best record (24-12).
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Comparing Their Seasons
Although there are strong subjective arguments to be made for both players, the numbers tell a story all their own. Here’s how Durant and Curry stack up against one another from a numerical standpoint:
Barring an injury or some other unexpected occurrence, it appears as though this race won’t be settled into the regular season concludes.