(WTLC concludes its end of season player reviews with your NBA MVP, Kevin Durant.)
Full Name: Kevin Wayne Durant
Years in NBA: Six (drafted in 1st round, 2nd overall by Seattle SuperSonics in 2007)
Contract Status: With only two years left on his contract, Durant is set to make $3 million more than he did this past season. According to USA Today's HoopsHype, Durant's breakdown of what he's set to make looks like this:
2013/14 - $18,773,176
2014/15 - $19,997,513
2015/16 - $21,221,850
After the 2010-11 season, Durant signed a 5-year extension with the Thunder. In his contract, Durant is not allowed to opt out early, like LeBron James did Tuesday with the Miami Heat, so Durant is under contract through June 30, 2016.
While Durant can leave the organization come 2016, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, an extended contract, between the owners and players, can be extended again three years after the original extension was signed.
In Durant's case, since it has been three years since he last signed an extension, Durant could possibly sign on the dotted line, again, and extend his time with OKC after July 1, but the extension would only be good for two additional seasons.
Notable Factoid: Claimed first Most Valuable Player award this season.
- Durant is one of four children of Wanda and Wayne Pratt. He has one sister and two brothers. His older brother Anthony is also a basketball player.
- Durant wears the No. 35 jersey in honor of his AAU coach and child mentor, Charles Craig, who passed away at the age of 35.
- He was drafted second overall in the 2007 by the Seattle SuperSonics after playing one season at the University of Texas-Austin.
- In high school, Durant played in Maryland for the National Christian Academy and Montrose Christian School. He also played in Virginia at Oak Hill Academy.
The Thunder were expected to clinch the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference. Last year, they finished 60-22 and were listed at No. 1. This preseason, Westbrook was hurt and people weren't quite sure how'd they look since they lost to Memphis early in the playoffs, due to Westbrook getting hurt.
Durant was an MVP candidate early on and the only question on everyone's mind was: Could the Thunder stay healthy?
Regular Season Grade:
While Westbrook recovered from knee surgeries, Durant became a monster out on the court. Hitting big shots and becoming a clutch player, it seemed Durant had taken on more responsibilities. Even after Oklahoma City struggled in three straight games after Westbrook's return, Durant continued his dominance as he was making a name for himself during the regular season.
He was averaging a career high 32-points-per-game on the way to clinching his fourth scoring title in five seasons. He shot 50.3 percent from the floor, was 39.1 percent from behind the arc, and he was 87.3 percent from the free-throw line.
Here is a handy list of achievements as compiled by Jeff Caplan:
NOT SINCE MJ
- First to average at least 30.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while shooting at least 50 percent, since Jordan in 1991-92
- First to average at 32.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 5.0 apg, since Jordan in 1988-89
- First to average 33.0 ppg in three successive months (January, February, March). since Jordan in 1989-90
- First to have 51 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists (vs. Toronto) in a game, since Jordan in 1992
- First to score at least 25 points in at least 40 consecutive games (41), since Jordan in 1986-87
- First to have at least 35 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in three consecutive games, since Larry Bird in 1987-88
- Fourteen 40-point games this season, more than double the next player (Kevin Love, 6; Carmelo Anthony 5; Stephen Curry 3, LeBron James 3, Kyrie Irving 3)
- First with multiple 50-point games (2) in the same season, since LeBron James (3) and Dwyane Wade (3) in 2008-09
- Among players with at least four scoring titles (Durant, Wilt Chamberlain, George Gervin, Jordan), Durant was the youngest at the time of his fourth (25 years, 199 days as of the April 16, the last day of the regular season)
- Led all players this season in clutch points (five-point difference or less in final five minutes)
Sounds like an MVP season to us. Even the reigning MVP LeBron James endorsed KD:
"Much respect to him and he deserves it...He had a big-time MVP season."
Post Season Grade:
Durant's postseason was an uneven affair.
The Memphis Grizzlies were a headache to the Thunder. A bigger headache to Durant was Tony Allen. As the team was down 3-2 in the series, it seemed all hope was lost for the beloved Thunder.
That was until a national spotlight was placed on a headline from The Oklahoman that read in big, bold letters: "Mr. Unreliable"
A fuse was lit, probably The Oklahoman's intentions, as Durant averaged 35 points and nine rebounds on 60 percent shooting in games 6 and 7. He also averaged 33.1 points against the Clippers.
Things for Durant slowed down a bit once the Conference Finals arrived. Durant looked tired and rightly so and couldn't deliver the series-saving shot that OKC needed in OT in game 6. The clock, and the Thunder' season, had run out.
Most Memorable Game/Moment:
Durant knows how to put on a show. One particular show that stands out in is the performance he put on in January against the Golden State Warriors. In the midst of his 25-game winning streak, Durant decided to put on a show for the kids, all while embarrassing Iguodala, by scoring 54 points.
Finally, Durant put his special mark on the MVP speech with 26 minutes of honesty, humility, and abounding love toward the people in his life. Wanda Pratt raised a good man who aspires to be a great man.
Durant told his mother:
"We weren't supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs. Food on the table. When you didn't eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You're the real M.V.P."
The future is bright for Durant, but where does he go from here? He has two years left with OKC (unless he signs an extension this summer, he could have more), but the thing for Durant to stay focused on his staying healthy and helping the younger guys on his team develop.
He has steadily checked all of his career goals off the list.
Player Grades Explained:
A: Far exceeded expectations
B: Exceeded expectations
C: Met expectations
D: Did not meet expectations
F: Fell far short of expectations