• 09/22/2010, 06:25AM ET

NBA - Next Season's MVP

Hyped78 (222-22-6) vs Rudedog: Believe The Hype (370-317-81)

My pick is Kevin Durant.

To win the NBA MVP you have to have a great regular season (duh!), your team has to be in the upper echelon of the association and you have to put on monster stats.

Durant was last season's Scoring Champion and he came in 2nd in the MVP voting, behind LeBron James only.

His team won 50 games in the highly crowded and competitive Western Conference, just 7 wins behind the eventual champs LA Lakers.

Plus he was named the FIBA World Championships MVP.

I believe he is going to repeat as scoring champion and also that his OKC Thunder will improve on last season's record, as their young guys will continue to get better and improve their chemistry.

Durant already finished ahead of Kobe last year, as Bryant is now sharing the ball more than what he used to (with the great results that are plain to see).

LeBron, Wade and Bosh are going to see their respective stats go down. They're going to have to share their touches.

Durant turns 22 this month and his career promises great things.

Plus, even if it doesn't count, some voters will remember his Team USA leadership when casting their ballots.

Let me throw some past stats at you

Coming into last year, I did a TD for MVP. The picks?

Lots of Kobe. Lots of D-Wade.

One person said LeBron

Who won? LeBron

Each year, there's always a favorite who usually doesn't match expectations

Honestly, we've set the expectations of KD far too high. Following last year and this summer, he's been out of this world good. But can he keep it up?

I'm not sure if he can. And that's why I'm going with Kobe Bryant.

Here's another fact. 8 of the last 9 MVP winners were on teams with the best record in their conference.

Problem for KD is, he's in a conference with the 2-time defending champs and a team you think is going to 3-peat.

What people forget is that Kobe was injured in some way for 90% of the games last season. He broke his right index finger last year and had to completely change the way he released his shot. Think about that. He changed his shot during the season and still averaged 25 points.

Plus, he had played 100 games a year plus the Olympics for the past 3 seasons. This offseason, he had surgery and rested all summer.

A rested Kobe is a dangerous Kobe. A dangerous Kobe is an MVP winner

Let's see the two "facts" you presented, because the 1st one isn't a fact and the 2nd one is incorrect.

In the 1st one you talked about a Fannation TD you did on who would become MVP and about the picks some random users expressed.

And that's a fact for you? Like a survey?

Let me guess, you didn't pick LeBron and were thus incorrect. You can be wrong again this year :)

Then you present a real fact.

But if you're going to present facts and try to make a point, at least be sure of what you're presenting.

It's actually 7 out of 9. Tim Duncan in 2001-02 and Steve Nash in 2005-06 (Nash's Suns actually finished 3rd in the West).

And if you go back there are more examples.

You said we are setting expectations for Kevin Durant to be too high.

I am "sorry" if I believe that a soon to be 22-year-old (still a lot of room for improvement, which is basically scary), who is already one of the best players in the world, will actually get better.

He will probably repeat as dcoring champion, the Thunder depend more on him than the Lakers do on Kobe, and the Thunder will most likely improve.

No love for Kobe eh?

I was incorrect about the previous winners, but 7 of the last 9 is still more than making my point

will actually get better

Think about how good he is right now. He just dominated the nation at the FIBA's. In the last 3 games, he scored 100 total points, had 15 threes, and shot 50%+ from the field. And right now, that's the image in lots of our brains

So how much better could he get? We're assuming he's just going to get better, but on what grounds are we basing this other than his age? You don't think defenses are going to take it personal to stop him?

What Durant hasn't had to deal with is someone like Westbrook playing at the level he's playing. We've seen Durant be unselfish, so if he's getting double or triple teamed, he'll willingly give the ball to an open Westbrook for the shot.

I just don't think Durant is going to fulfill the unreal expectations we've set for him.

Kobe, however, is going under the radar. People know he's a great player, but they aren't putting him in the MVP race. He's going to sneak in, impress the right people, and win the award.

"Think about how good he is right now"

Good enough to have come in 2nd in the MVP voting last year.

So he was already close to winning the MVP.

With the decline in stats that LeBron is invariably going to suffer this year, that opens the door for Durant to win it.

"So how much better could he get?"
"on what grounds are we basing this other than his age?"

That's the natural evolution of every player, barring unforeseen situations such as injuries, personal problems, etc.

Kobe was already a great player at age 22 and yet he managed to improve tremendously, both in the way he plays and also as a leader.

"You don't think defenses are going to take it personal to stop him?"

That already happens.

The Thunder played 82 games last season and, in every single one of those games, Durant was the #1 target for opposing defenses, drawing double teams and added pressure.

And yet he still managed to average 30.1 PPG for the regular season.

"Kobe, however, is going under the radar"

Did you just try to play that card?

Kobe is definitely NOT flying under the radar.

He's the best player on the defending championship team?

Durant as 2010-11 MVP.

I knew it was a longshot

I understand your evolution argument, but Durant can't physically score much more than 30 points a game.

Now, let me show you some final stats. Not counting Wilt Chamberlain, let's look at some notables who scored 30 points in the modern era and how they did the next year

MJ - 37.1 ppg - 35ppg - 32 ppg over a 3-season stretch
KB - 30 - 24, 35 - 31 - 28
AI - 31- 27
T-Mac - 32 - 28
LBJ - 31 - 27 - 30 - 28

To expect KD to improve off a 30 point per game season doesn't seem reasonable. What goes up, most come down. I'm not saying permanently, but maybe KD will think he needs to create more for his teammates and not shoot as much. Whatever the case may be, I don't see him putting up 30 ppg again this year.

And with that, he won't be winning an MVP. I think Kobe has one 30 ppg or near-to-it season left in him and I think he'll pull it out this year.

Add in that his team will finish first in the conference and every stat points to Kobe winning the award next year

Great TD Hyped

September 22, 2010  07:03 AM ET

way to go out on a limb

September 22, 2010  07:07 AM ET

way to go out on a limb

You don't think it's a good choice?

September 22, 2010  07:20 AM ET

I think his stock went up big time during the playffs and now the FIBA world championships. I can't argue this at all. To me it's gonna be between him and Kobe.

September 22, 2010  07:51 AM ET

Jay Cutler.

September 22, 2010  07:51 AM ET

way to go out on a limb

Go to school.

September 22, 2010  07:55 AM ET

Jay Cutler.

Matthew Stafford

September 22, 2010  08:39 AM ET

Matthew Stafford

good choice

September 22, 2010  08:41 AM ET

In all seriousness, Lebron, Wade, Bosh are all going to cancel each other out. It will be either Kobe, Durant and CP3 if he is healthy and the New Orleans Hornets do well.

September 22, 2010  08:57 AM ET

It will be either Kobe, Durant and CP3 if he is healthy and the New Orleans Hornets do well.

Eventually Dwight Howard in the race as well?

September 22, 2010  09:06 AM ET

Eventually Dwight Howard in the race as well?

Eventually, but not yet.

September 22, 2010  09:24 AM ET

I remember often reading on this site last year and the year before that Brandon Roy would be better than Kobe by now. What happened there?

September 22, 2010  09:35 AM ET

i got an exam in my first class today, but i'll argue after that

September 22, 2010  09:39 AM ET

i got an exam in my first class today, but i'll argue after that

No problem, take your time and good luck for your exam.

September 22, 2010  09:50 AM ET

Matthew Stafford

Brandon Marshall

September 22, 2010  10:46 AM ET

I'm expecting a big season from Shaq.

September 22, 2010  01:03 PM ET

I think Lebron will win it yet again. Just because you have 2 other superstars in your cast, doesn't mean you still can't win it. If I remember correctly Larry Bird and Magic Johnson each won multiple MVP's in their respective tenure, and each of their squads consisted of 2+ HoF'ers in their primes.

Lebron James still is the best player in the league, and he is only going to get better. Are we all forgetting that he is still a couple years off from even hitting his prime?

September 22, 2010  01:20 PM ET

a rested kobe is a dangerous kobe? get out of hea... you don't think playing 82 games and 3 straight NBA finals are not going to take it's toll?

1st: he didn't play 82 games last year.
2nd: he had an entire offseason of rehab and rest
3rd: he has more weapons that KD to take pressure off him

September 22, 2010  03:45 PM ET

You don't think it's a good choice?

It's the obvious choice with Lebron sharing touches and Kobe past his prime.

That's said, it's not likely. OKC isn't going to be good enough for him to win it.

September 22, 2010  03:47 PM ET

Eventually Dwight Howard in the race as well?

Nah, Howard might be the most over hyped player in the game. He can be shut down by an aggressive center and blocked shots aside, he's not nearly as great a defender as he's given credit for. They don't give MVP's for impressive dunks.

September 22, 2010  03:48 PM ET

Everyone is wrong... Jose Calderon will be the league MVP. Raptors will go 82-0, Jay Triano will be coach of the year.


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