Latest News, NBA / Apr 13, 2010 / 3:00 pm

Kevin Durant Should Win The NBA Most Improved Player Award

In just his third year in the NBA, Kevin Durant has transcended from star to superstar. He leads the league in Points (2441), Field Goals Made (782) & Attempted (1650), Free Throws Made (751) & Attempted (835), as well as Minutes Played (3201). At just 21 years old, his name is already being mentioned in the MVP discussion after he’s helped his young team to almost 50 wins. But with all that said, basketball insiders have been asking the following question: Why shouldn’t Kevin Durant win the Most Improved Player award? My answer: He should.

When you look at the list of former winners, while there are some big names – Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O’Neal and Gilbert Arenas – none of these guys won the award when they were averaging 25.3 points per game the season before. But having said that, there is no player that has improved as much as Kevin Durant has this season.

From John Krolik of ProBasketballTalk:

Durant’s scoring average is up four points per game this season. He averages a rebound more than he did last season. His PER has gone up a full six points this year. Before the season, raw and adjusted +/- numbers showed Durant to be somewhat of a liability. This season, Durant is among the league leaders in both metrics, a completely unprecedented improvement. (I can’t get over how ridiculous this was. When an advanced metric questioned Durant’s value, Durant broke the stat and made it difficult to ever take at face value again. It’s like how Jordan used to break the spirit of anyone who ever questioned him, but for the twitter generation.)

Not convinced? Check out this graphic from Eddy Rivera of the Orlando Pinstriped Post that shows Durant’s statistical improvement in comparison with Aaron Brooks and Andrew Bogut (the other leading candidates for the MIP award):

It’s not even close. Kevin Durant is already one of the best players in the NBA, and while LeBron James willing probably win his second MVP award, why not give some credit to the hardest working man in showbiz. Hell, maybe they could even get Greg Oden to present him the award. Too soon…

What do you think? Should Kevin Durant win the Most Improved Player award? If not, then who?

Follow Aron on Twitter at @the_real_aron.

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  • The Journeyman

    I have become an ultimate fan of K. Durant

    I am all for it !

    and screw LeBron ! and screw StateFarm insurance if they lowball me on an estimate

  • control

    For a guy who has the skinniest damn shoulders in the league, he sure carries a shit tun on them. Give him the award, the guy has been a straight out beast.

    He’s still listed at like 6’9 on NBA.com, and listed as 6’9 or 6’10 when announced…he has to be at least 7’0 now. He’s really gotten taller over the offseason, and kept his speed, quickness and agility. He’ll never be a low post bruiser, but he’s got a combo of size, speed and coordination that hasn’t been seen since Lamar (and he’s not a mental case like Lamar).

    If he had strength, I’d say he could top LeBron in the coming years…

  • Mike Mihalow

    Durant, Brooks, and Bogut were all good players last season. The award should go to someone who went from poor to good. George Hill would probably get my vote; he wasn’t even left on the playoff roster last season.

  • yoda

    “It’s not even close. Kevin Durant is already one of the best players in the NBA, and while LeBron James willing probably win his second MVP award, why not give some credit to the hardest working man in showbiz.”
    hardest working man? have you ever heard about that dude in los angeles? that wakes up at 5:30 during summer to go to gym? play all broken? no disrespect to durant, but no one can take away hardest working man in nba from kobe

  • yoda

    *but no one can take away title of hardest working man in nba from kobe*

  • Dagger

    All I can say is that before the season started I considered Durant to be overrated: an increasingly good scorer who relied too much on screens, dribbled too high off the ground to get to the net with ease, couldn’t pass, didn’t defend and didn’t make his team better. To say he won me over this year is an understatement. There are still holes in his game but he’s absolutely legit and is already one of the top-10, maybe top-5 players in the league. He’ll be a superstar for a long time.

  • Bizz

    He was worthy of winning it last year, and even more so this year. He’s gone from tier 2 superstar to questionably the best player in the NBA in the matter of a season, and the scary thing is, this is only what, year 3? Imagine what’ll happen to his #’s when he improves in rebounding, passing and defence, and it’s quite possible with the way he’s scoring now, that his average may shoot up to as high as 35ppg next year. The most interesting question I see is what happens for all-star voting next year. Melo’s come into his own this year as well, Dirk’s been playing out of his mind. There’s gonna be a serious snub for sure at the forward spot for a starter, I’m curious to see if KD gets the respect he deserves.

  • Heckler

    I dont think anyone would have a problem if Kevin Durant won the Most Improved Player Award.

    except….is he really the MOST improved player?
    He really hasnt done anything that we all havent expected anyway. we knew damn well he would be among the leaders in scoring. that aint no surprise. it aint even a surprise if he wins the scoring title.

    but points aside….is Kevin Durant really the MOST improved player in the nba?

    what about his teammate Russell Westbrook? or Carl Landry? or Aaron Brooks? or Andrew Bogut?

  • pat

    If and when (hopefully next year) KD learns to pass and averages 5 assist, then the better W/L record will decide whether he or LBJ wins the MVP every year for the next 4 years.

  • Chaos

    if jeff green becomes a better rebounder and they get a real center (serge ibaka will be a beast once he refines his game) durant wont have to get as many rebounds and will concentrate on scoring and dishing. dude is a scoring prodigy and him wil carmelo will eventually be neck and neck as the best pure scorers in the L

  • Coach T-Sun

    hahah dime that was a low blow with the greg oden line.

  • TIP

    You guys need to stop the madness.

    Not just this year, One of the TNT guys (can’t remember who) last year said the same thing too. This guy was a NO. 2 PICK, who SHOULDA BEEN a No.1, who averaged 20 PPG in his first year, improved by 5 in his second and another 5 in his third.

    That folks, does not make him to be Most Improved. IT WAS EXPECTED and he just hasn’t disappointed. To say he’s MIP because he’s gone from Star to Superstar is just laughable. This guy is a legit MVP and that is how he should be honoured…not some stupid MIP.

  • Bizz


    You also seem to forget that although he was touted to be a star, he wasn’t expected to be this beast-like this quick, and turn OKC from a crap team to a legit playoff squad in the span of 3 years. The Western Conference is on pace for 5 playoff teams with 50 wins each…and the Thunder happen to be one of them on that verge. Give credit where credit is due. Most Improved is not for scrub players, they’re for the player who’s shown THE MOST IMPROVEMENT, and who really has improved more stat wise and talent wise than Kevin Durant?

  • liukz

    NO Dime, with the team he has he should be the MVP

  • Wake

    Have to go with Noah as MIP this year.

  • K Dizzle

    Channing Frye…
    Russell Westbrook…
    George Hill…
    Joakim Noah…

  • Geoff

    I completely agree with you Aron-KD should win the Most Improved Player award without a doubt. There’s no arguing his stats, which show some unbelievable improvement. But I also think Goran Dragic should at least get some love for the improvement he has made this year. Statistically, he doesn’t compare to any of these guys-KD, Brooks, or Bogut-he’s not even close. But compare his game this season to last season, and it’s like night and day. It’s amazing how much he has benefited by playing behind Nash, which is just another testament to how great a leader Steve Nash is on and off the court.

  • bakedbeing

    Totally agree. It’s not the MIP Who Didn’t Have High Expectations award, it’s the MIP; from those stats and all the gushing (versus last year where he was still being called a licensed jacker), he’s improved out of site and I’d be happy to see the young fella get it.

  • bakedbeing

    As an Aussie though I’d be stoked to see Bogut rewarded for filling and maybe blowing out his imagined potential.

  • Sporty-j

    Once Kevin Durants learns how to impact a game on the defensive end of the floor like Lebron and Wade. He will be in the argument as to who is the best player in the league along with Wade and James. Right now is just a pure scorer like Carmelo and Coach Kay will definitely teach him this summer during the olympics that if he wants to be considered the the best, that the next step will be to improve his defense now that he has taken his offensive game to another. I also think a great Argument and case can be made for Bogut because a lot of people had written him off and not only did he make a big improvement to his game on the offensive end of the floor. He made and big improvement on the defensive end of the floor which is just as important as scoring because defense does win championships at the end of the day and that needs to be taken into consideration when we are judging and giving out awards to these players.

  • Seany T

    I think most improved should go to the player that surprises the most. The player who you totally didn’t expect it from, the one that came from nowhere and their stats jumped up across the board. Durant is awesome for sure but everybody expected that, give it to the person where nobody saw it coming, the write off, the late pick.

  • Tha Boddy “There is ALWAYS next season”

    I gotta go with Andray Blatche for MIP.Once he got a chance to start he doubled his ppg got his rebs up and showed that he is worth being a borderline allstar and maybe even allstar if he can get his head straight.You can’t argue with around 22pts 8rebs 3assits coming from a guy who was in Jamison’s shadow most of his career.While Kevin Durant has exploded onto the scene even more this season he was already the man on the Thunder and his improvement was already expected.Andray Blatche for MIP shows when some players get a chance they take it and run with it

  • ay yo.

    Why does people keep saying he’s just a pure scorer. Durant nor Melo are just pure scorers anymore.

    No one talks about the steals or the defense both these guys play. The rebounding, and passing out of double-teams.

    I’m for KD winning MIP, but I think Russell Westbrook deserves it more.