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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Informer Breaks Down the 2013-14 NBA MVP Race Between Kevin Durant and LeBron James


Just so we are all clear, the next statement The Informer is going to make is not a bold prediction –it is a statement of fact. 

Are you ready? 

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the 2013-14 NBA MVP

This is a statement of fact because the OKC superstar has led his team to the top of the West division while averaging 31ppg 8rpg and 5.5apg. Basically, this season KD has been a better version of 2008 LeBron James (The year James won his first MVP after averaging 28-8-7). 

The problem is, over the past month LeBron has decided to step his game up and all of the sudden the once obvious conclusion of “Durant for MVP” has in some peoples mind (wrongfully) turned into an argument about LeBron over KD.

In the words of ESPN’s Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friends.”

While LeBron has been great for the past month, do you know who else has been great –Kevin Durant.  Just take a look at their last ten games (The stretch that has everyone saying LeBron has turned up the heat –pun intended) and you will see what The Informer is talking about. 

  KEVIN DURANT

LAST 10 GAMES
POINTS
REBOUNDS
ASSISTS
GAME 1
29
5
12
GAME2
41
10
9
GAME 3
36
10
2
GAME 4
43
12
7
GAME 5
28
8
3
GAME 6
42
3
10
GAME 7
28
10
9
GAME 8
37
6
5
GAME 9
28
6
5
GAME 10
42
9
3
TOTAL AVERAGES
35.4
7.9
6.5

LEBRON JAMES

LAST 10 GAMES
POINTS
REBOUNDS
ASSISTS
GAME 1
31
8
12
GAME 2
13
7
5
GAME 3
37
9
3
GAME 4
36
13
9
GAME 5
42
9
6
GAME 6
33
7
3
GAME 7
31
4
4
GAME 8
20
9
7
GAME 9
61
7
5
GAME 10
22
6
1
TOTAL AVERAGES
32.6
7.9
5.5

Does anyone else find it interesting that during LeBron’s so called “MVP stretch of basketball”; Durant’s numbers across the board are better? 

Furthermore, the thing that stood out the most about these stats is LeBron has three games in this stretch with 22 points or less, including one 13 point game. 

The Informer has to ask: How in the bluest of H.E. double hockey sticks does the most dominate basketball force since Wilt Chamberlain get held to 13 points in 39 minutes? The only logical answer is he gave the minimum effort needed to win the game and nothing more.
This is the biggest problem The Informer has against any LeBron for MVP argument. He has too many games where he gives minimum effort to win. The Informer is talking about games where he scores less than 20 points, grabs 5-8 rebounds while dishing out a handful of assist. Yes, for an average to a good player that is a great night. For the best player in basketball, who averages 28-7-7 for his career, it is a “minimum effort” game. 

The Informer note – LeBron has seven games this season where he scored less than 20 points while grabbing fewer than 10 rebounds and dishing out less than 10 assist. Now, The Informer realizes LeBron only averages 7rpg and 6apg so it is no surprise he would have less than ten of each in said games. However, my point is that even on the nights when “The King” isn’t scoring, he is not picking his effort up in other areas to compensate for his lack of offense. 

Listen, The Informer is not faulting LeBron for his “minimum effort” games. The Informer understands James is going to coast during the regular season at times because his end game is championships, not regular season wins. 

To be honest, The Informer has absolutely no problem with this strategy. 

The thing is, if you are going to employ this strategy and someone else comes along and averages 31-8-5 over the course of an entire season you can’t be upset when that guy ends up being called the best player, or in this case the MVP. 

Again, The Informer is not saying LeBron is no longer the best in the world when it comes to overall talent, what The Informer is saying is the MVP is a year to year award based on who played the best basketball for that 82 game stretch. 

Judging by the first 59 games, the best player in “This” season has hands down been KD.
And as long as Durant stays remotely close to his averages for the next month, then when a perspective voter looks at all the numbers they will have no choice but to name Kevin Durant the 2013-14 NBA MVP. 

Like The Informer said before, Durant winning the MVP is not a prediction –it is a statement of fact.

Breaking Down NFL Free Agency 2014

 
“And the rich keep getting richer.” 

This is the phrase that crept into The Informer’s mind as he watched the Denver Broncos (DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib), the New England Patriots (Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner) and the Indianapolis Colts (Hakeem Nicks, D'Qwell Jackson, Arthur Jones and Vontae Davis) spend millions of dollars on free agents and yet somehow come away richer than ever, all the while solidifying their spots at the top of the AFC food chain. 

Now before you start saying The Informer is overreacting, or that a team can’t buy championships during the free agency period; let me counter by saying –teams absolutely can buy championship during the free agency period.
For example, heading into the 1993 offseason the Green Bay Packers were a downtrodden franchise that hadn’t made the playoffs in 10 years (1983), hadn’t played in the Super Bowl in 26 years (1967) and they were a franchise that was having a hard time finding the right defensive pieces to go along with their young star quarterback. 

Thanks to free agency, all of that changed in the spring of 93' when Green Bay signed one of the greatest free agent ever –31-year old Reggie White.

After the White signing, the Packers made the playoffs six straight seasons (Each year until Reggie retired in 1998) and they also made two appearances in the Super Bowl ( (Winning it all in 1996).  

Basically, Green Bay went from perennial losers, to perennial winners and eventually champions because of free agency. Sure, there were other pieces in the mix (Namely Brett Favre) but the fact is White upgraded a bad defense and helped turn the Packers into a dynasty. 

Green Bay is not the only example of teams using free agency to catapult themselves into the championship conversation. The San Francisco 49ers finished the 1993 NFL Season with a loss in the NFC Championship game to the Dallas Cowboys. After the loss, the thought around San Francisco was they had a great offense, but they were missing a couple of defensive pieces. 

So what did San Francisco do in the offseason? They signed Deion Sanders and Ken Norton Jr. to solidify their weaknesses. As you may have guessed, with their upgraded defensive weapons, the Niners went onto become the 1994-95 Super Bowl Champions

Then, the very next season, Deion signed a multi-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys. For those that don’t remember what happened next, those 1995 Dallas Cowboys went on to, you guessed it, win the Super Bowl.
Are you noticing a trend? Good to great teams that make the right upgrades during free agency can most definitely catapult into the Super Bowl conversation.  

“Informer that was 20 years ago, free agency doesn’t work like that in today’s NFL. Just look at the ‘Dream Team’, they were supposed to be buying a championship and they didn’t even make the playoffs.”
The figment of my imagination makes a great point; lately there have been teams like the Philadelphia Eagles that spent a bunch of money in the offseason trying to win and it didn’t work out. But do you want to know why it didn’t work out? It is not because they spent money on the wrong guys; it is because they didn’t have the right player at the quarterback position. 

Sure Michael Vick is exciting, fun to watch and he can even win games with his own athletic ability. But let’s be fair, Vick was never the guy who could stay healthy for an entire season and he is definitely not someone you would consider a great quarterback. Ultimately, having inconsistent quarterback play and injuries were the reasons the “Dream Team” failed. It had nothing to do with their offseason signings. 

If you look back at those Packers, Cowboys and 49ers teams, the reasons their free agent signings led to Super Bowl wins is because they had Hall of Fame quarterbacks and talent surrounding them. They only needed a piece here and there to take great teams and turn them into championship teams. 

So while The Informer agrees this day and age most teams cannot win the Super Bowl by building a “Dream Team” during free agency (The Informer is looking at you Tampa Bay), there are teams like the Broncos (They have a Hall of Fame quarterback) who through free agency have vastly improved their chances at a Super Bowl victory. 

The same can be said for New England (Future Hall of Fame QB) after they bought an island (Revis) and a “PED” dealer great cornerback (Browner) and for Indianapolis (Luck is the Colts version of 1993 Brett Favre) after they upgraded their defense while adding a potential game changer in Hakeem Don’t call me Stevie” Nicks. 

For those three teams, the words free agency and buying "Dream Teams” can co-exist because they already have the most important piece in the NFL championship puzzle –great quarterbacks. 

Now do these offseason deals mean the Broncos, Pats or Colts will beat the Seattle Seahawks or the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl next year? The Informer doesn’t know that answer because he is not Miss Cleo.

However, even though The Informer is not a “Jamaican psychic”, he is confident enough to make a bold March prediction and say with the moves made in free agency the Pats, Colts and Broncos will once again be three of the final four AFC teams playing football in January of 2015.  

Like The Informer said, "the rich keep getting richer."

(P.S. - The 2014 NFL Season kicks off in 173 days.) 

**********************************************************************************************************************************
The Informer’s after the article outrageous over the top NFL comparison: 

At the age of 31 Reggie White left the NFC East for the Midwest and was signed as a free agent by the Green Bay Packers. At that point in his career the future Hall of Famer had recorded 124 sacks, he was the third player in NFL history to lead the NFL in sacks two different times and the only player in the NFL to record 10+ sacks in seven straight seasons. 

At the age of 31 DeMarcus Ware left the NFC East for the Midwest and was signed as a free agent by the Denver Broncos. At this point in his career the former Cowboy has recorded 117 sacks, he is one of five players in NFL history to lead the NFL in sacks two different times and he is one of three (White and John Randle) NFL players to record 10+ sacks in seven straight seasons.

Just saying . . . The comparison could be made.