Through one month of the 2023-24 season, Durant is playing some of the best basketball of his incredibly illustrious career, and that dominance is not going unnoticed.
Fellow NBA players, fans, and analysts alike are in agreement that Durant is in the early running for NBA MVP — if not the outright favorite at the moment.
After another splendid performance on Friday, November 17 that included a last-minute dagger, Suns center Drew Eubanks told the media that KD is, in his opinion, the MVP favorite.
“He’s killin’ it right now. In my opinion, MVP front-runner.”
Eubanks has seen firsthand just how dominant Durant has been in 2023-24. KD is averaging 31.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.2 blocks through 13 games.
Kevin Durant Feeling the Love
It’s not just Durant’s teammates that are vouching for his early season play. On November 16, Jay Williams said on ESPN’s Get Up that Durant and Boston’s Jayson Tatum are leading the MVP charge thus far.
“Right now, I think it’s between Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant. I mean, KD’s been averaging crazy points, they were both prolific last night,” Williams said.
Tatum, meanwhile, is averaging 27.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game on a Boston team that appears to be as good as advertised after making big offseason moves to acquire Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday.
Durant’s Signature Moments
MVP’s usually need to rack up signature moments throughout the season, and Durant is off to a great start in that regard.
On November 17, the night Eubanks called KD the MVP “frontrunner,” KD hit a walkup three-pointer to sink the Jazz in an In-Season Tournament contest. He finished that game with 31 points on 68.2% shooting from the field and 75% from three-point range (6/8).
Is the Suns’ Turnaround Starting?
The Suns have not come out of the gates running this season; they currently have a record of 7-6, and bad injury luck — notably injuries to both Devin Booker and Bradley Beal — have played a huge part in that relatively slow start.
But things are slowly starting to change. Pheonix has won three straight games, two against Utah and the other a dominating win against a very good Timberwolves team.
With a few exceptions, the NBA Most Valuable Player is usually given to a player who plays on a highly successful regular season team; no matter how great of a season a player may have, team success almost always factors into voters’ decisions when April rolls around. Hence, a hot streak for the Suns right now would only do wonders for KD’s case.
Should Durant capture the MVP in 2023-24, it would be his second time winning the award, which would make him part of a pretty special collection of players.
The only other players in NBA history who have won multiple MVP’s are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bob Pettit, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic.
It’s somewhat surprising to think that Durant has just one MVP trophy after dominating the league for so many years. Could 2023-24 be the year he adds another individual achievement to an already impressive resume?