Yes, stats count. So does his performance in close games, his output against the better teams, his showdowns with fellow candidates and his overall leadership. However, a true indicator can be how the player performs when he has to go it alone.
This season, we have all marveled at Kevin Durant. The perennial MVP candidate has been truly spectacular. But what has elevated him above LeBron James – who pretty much has had a chokehold on this award for the last five years – has been his performance without All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook.
This week’s table is dotted with other names who fit that description, such as Blake Griffin, Goran Dragic and Al Jefferson.