NBA MVP Watch: Kevin Durant Is on Fire

The Thunder's scoring leader stayed hot and even turned up the heat last week. How high is he in the MVP race?

According to recent reports, the Golden State Warriors have a legitimate chance of landing Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar, in the near future.

In other words, there's a possibility that we'll get to witness the most unstoppable offensive 1-2 punch ever culminated. That is, of course, if Durant decides to leave an already-fruitful situation in Oklahoma City.

Playing in his ninth season, Durant has remained sizzling in all aspects of his game. His superstar teammate has looked to pass more than ever before, which has enabled Durant to shoulder the load in the scoring department. He is shooting lights out thus far in the season and overtakes second place in nERD.

For those unfamiliar, nERD is our in-house metric that measures a player's contributions throughout the course of a season based on their efficiency. Comparable to Win Shares, this ranking gives an estimate of how many games above or below .500 a league-average team would win with that player as one of their starters. The rating will represent a player's total contribution over an 82-game season, not just the games played so far this year.

The quest for being the best heats up in the latest MVP Watch.

5. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

nERD Score: 14.7
Team Record: 35-13

In the seven games since Tyronn Lue has taken over coaching duties for the Cavs, LeBron James has more or less been the same player. However, a couple of stats stand out. James' assist-turnover ratio has blossomed to about 4:1 (compared to his season average of about 2:1), but he has managed to make just one three-pointer in his last 19 attempts (compared to his season average of making about one per four attempts).

4. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

nERD Score: 17.0
Team Record: 38-13

Russell Westbrook has an active streak of three straight triple-doubles, his most recent recorded in just 22 minutes of play in which he put up a monstrous line of 24 points, 19 rebounds, and 14 assists. As a matter of fact, Westbrook has averaged a triple-double over his last 11 games with 21.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 11.8 assists per game. He continues to be an undeniable force night-in and night-out.

3. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

nERD Score: 20.1 
Team Record: 41-8

Kawhi Leonard is coming off a 26-point outing, his most in a game since mid-December, with an array of interior razzle-dazzle moves. Leonard is not only on pace to average a career-high in points, assists, and steals, but he is also flirting with the chance to join the exclusive 50-40-90 club with current averages of 51% from the field, 48% from three-point range, and 88% from the charity stripe.

2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

nERD Score: 20.3 
Team Record: 38-13

After being named Player of the Month for the second month in a row, Durant resumed his prolific ways with a season-high six three-pointers (including the game-winner) en route to a 37-point night last night. Durant has averaged 21.3 field goal attempts over his last 10 games, a trend that should only continue because he has been shooting better than 50% all season.

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

nERD Score: 27.0 
Team Record: 45-4

Making seven three-pointers in a game is impressive, but making seven of them in the first quarter? That's Stephen Curry. After cooling off in his previous three games with a total of 50 points and 3.7 three-pointers per game, Curry exploded for 51 points which included 11 of 16 shooting from long distance. After losing two of three games in mid-January, the Golden State Warriors have won eight in a row by an average margin of 20.5 points.