After tearing his Achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals, many people wondered if they would ever see Kevin Durant be the superstar that we have become accustomed to. In 2020 not only did he prove that he is still a superstar but perhaps an even better player than he was before sustaining the injury.
This season Durant has put forth an identical effort. The 11-time All-Star is averaging 28.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game for the Nets. He is also shooting a career-high 59.2% from the field, and his performance is being noticed around the league–especially with potential MVP voters.
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Kevin Durant Edges Steph Curry, Jimmy Butler in MVP Rankings
With Kyrie Irving still out because of the vaccination mandate and James Harden being a shell of himself so far, Durant has had to shoulder most of the responsibilities for the Brooklyn Nets on both sides of the ball. Still despite having a roster that is lacking the Nets have won four games in a row and have a record of 6-3 on the season.
In the latest KIA NBA MVP ladder, Durant sits in the top spot.
Interestingly, not too far behind Durant is his former Golden State Warriors teammate Steph Curry. Despite being without their star, Klay Thompson, who is recovering from an Achilles tendon tear, and their lottery pick, James Wiseman, who is out with a torn meniscus, Curry and the Warriors currently sit in the top spot in the Western Conference. On the season Curry is averaging 25.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game as the Warriors are off to a hot 7-1 start.
Sitting in third place of the NBA Most Valuable Player rankings is Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler. The Heat had a busy offseason acquiring key players such as Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker and they now sit at 6-2, the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. On the season Butler is averaging 24.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game.
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Nets Rookie Sounds off on Durant’s Work Ethic
On a team that has as many current and former All-Stars as the Nets do, rookies won’t get a lot of playing time. But the opportunity to learn from veterans who know what it takes to make it in this league holds value. Nets rookie David Duke Jr. is grateful that he has an opportunity to watch Durant every day.
“I get to see him [Kevin Durant] every single day come into the gym and put the work in, see how he approaches the game, go out and play super hard,” Duke told NetsDaily at Long Island Nets Media Day on November 4.
“Just his mentality about things: how he responds to certain situations. I’ve taken that and I learned to appreciate it even more. Growing up as a fan, you don’t really see all the things they do behind the scenes. Now, I get a chance to. I just built an appreciation for the guys like KD, [James] Harden, Blake Griffin, and every vet I can take from. It’s been great so far.”
Durant has already won the Most Valuable Player award once in his career during the 2014 season. If he can notch another one this season to go along with two rings and two Finals MVPs it would further cement his status as one of the all-time greats.