Kevin Durant for NBA MVP: 4 Players Standing in the Way

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Source: Keith Allison / Flickr

Winning an MVP award is a tricky thing in the National Basketball Association. Over the past fifteen years, the players who received the Maurice Podoloff trophy have been one of these things: either the hands-down, no-questions-asked best player of the season (LeBron James, 2013); the best player on the best team (Derrick Rose in 2012, LeBron in 2009); or the most essential player on a team that’s winning enough to be noticed (Steve Nash in ’05, Dirk Nowitzki in ’07, Kevin Garnett in ’04, Allen Iverson in ’01).

That’s a tricky thing for someone like Kevin Durant to overcome. He’s playing the best basketball of his career, putting up 31 points, almost 8 rebounds, and more than 5 assists per game. His team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, is in the upper echelon of a hyper-competitive Western Conference thanks to his Herculean efforts when his All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook went down with knee problems during the winter.

But poor Durant can’t seem to escape being an also-ran, even though he’s been sick of it since last April. He told CBS Sports: ”I was the second-best player in high school. I was the second pick in the draft. I’ve been second in the MVP voting three times. I came in second in the Finals. I’m tired of being second. I’m not going to settle for that. I’m done with it.” With that in mind, here are four players who might keep KD/The Slim Reaper/The Servant firmly in second place.

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