After being sidelined for 18 months to recover from a torn Achilles, Kevin Durant has returned to the NBA as if the injury never happened.
In just 14 games, Durant has averaged 30.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 7.6 rebounds on 19.6 shots a game shooting 52% from the field and 45% from three-point land.

These stats have started the case for Durant to be this season’s MVP, having him with the second-highest odds at +600, only behind Luka Doncic at +450.

So, is it possible for Durant to get his second MVP this year?

The easy answer is no, mainly because Durant plays on a team with two top-level All-Stars on his team, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Durant’s likelihood of staying over 30 points per game, which he would need to do to win, is unlikely with Irving and Harden both on his team. Playing with other All-Stars makes it even harder to win an MVP mainly because you have help, and your stats or where you finish at the end of the season doesn’t hold the same value as someone with less support.

This is proven by Durant’s time on the Golden State Warriors for three seasons.

Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Neither Durant nor teammate Stephen Curry could break into the top four in MVP voting, even with those two players winning the last three MVP’s. Their individual stats did not drop off all that much, and on top of that, they clearly played for the best team in the league, making it to the NBA Finals all three years together. However, they also had Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, two other All-Stars on their team, therefore decreasing their MVP odds. Playing with All-Stars, of course, will work out in the long run as the possibility of winning an NBA Championship is higher the more All-Stars are on your team.

However, through these first 14 games and 3 games that the Brooklyn Nets’ new big three have played together, Durant has shown up and has been the team leader and the first option on offense. If this continues, Durant can actually win the MVP. LeBron James won back-to-back MVPs while playing for the Miami Heat, with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, both All-Stars and at the top of their game during their time together. James averaged 26.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.9 assists in his two combined MVP seasons. If Durant stays on this path, he could have the numbers to support his claim for the MVP unless someone like Doncic, who has less support on his team, carries his team into a high seeding for the playoffs.

Durant is also no stranger to being in the MVP race. He won his only MVP in the 2013-2014 season, and before that, coming in second place in the 2009-2010, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 seasons.

Something else that will aid Durant’s MVP hopes is that being seen as a more well-rounded player. Something that helped James win his back-to-back MVPs was that he played both sides of the ball and made his teammates better through his passing and shot creation. Since Durant has left Oklahoma City Thunder, he has shown off his more complete style of play.

Since leaving after the 2015-2016 season, Durant’s points average has gone down because he takes fewer shots. Still, his rebounding, assists, shooting efficiency, steals, and blocks averages have all gone up. With the Nets, Durant is back to taking around 20 shots a game and still keeping his scoring efficiency, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals around the same average as it was with the Warriors.

Betting sites seem to think that Durant can win his second MVP this season, and his stats lineup with other MVP seasons. Now, the issue will be if having two proven All-Stars on his team will hurt his case, or will his play outshine Irving and Harden’s.
It’s too early to say, but if Durant stays on this path and the Nets and be at the top of the Eastern Conference, he might win the MVP.

Featured Image: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
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