We are not even at the halfway point of the season, but let’s talk MVP anyway. Two of the league’s stars made recent comments about the award so why can’t we? LeBron James basically said as soon as he and Dwyane Wade joined company they could kiss any MVP consideration goodbye. Meanwhile Bulls PG Derrick Rose said it’s his goal to win the award this season and he thinks he can as long as the team continues to win. (Chicago is currently 3rd in the East).
So, who is your MVP? Here is a look at some of the top candidates thru 30+ games.
Amare Stoudemire, Knicks: 26.4 points, 9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks.
In his first season in the Big Apple, Stoudemire has New York in 6th place in the Eastern Conference while ranking 2nd in the NBA in points-per-game. The Knicks are looking like a playoff team early thanks to stellar combination of Stoudemire and Felton. It will be tough for him to win the award if New York finishes near .500, which I expect.
Kevin Durant, Thunder: 27.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3 assists.
The NBA’s leading scorer has his team in 5th place in the West but only a half game out of 3rd and 3 games back of 2nd. He was clearly the MVP of the Gold Medal winning World Championship team, and he has sort of carried that over into the NBA season. I thought he would be a little more dominating; after all he did crack the 30 points per game mark last year.
Derrick Rose, Bulls: 24 points, 8.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds.
The guy thinks he’s the MVP, wants to be the MVP, and could very well win the MVP. He’s 8th in scoring, 7th in assists, and his team sits in 3rd place in a conference that is more top heavy than Dolly Parton. Rose has been a complete player leadings a team that has never been a full strength with the injuries to Boozer (early) and Noah (present/future).
Dwight Howard, Magic: 21.1 points, 13 rebounds, 2.5 blocks.
He’s the best center in the game (Duncan is a PF, naturally so is Amare, and Yao is in 7’6 sits the rest of the way), and because of this, he will always get some consideration. His team made a major shake up but he remains the vocal point. The Magic will only go as far as Dwight takes them. If he is really going to win the MVP he might have to catch Love for the rebounding title and Bogut for blocks and win another Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Kobe Bryant, Lakers: 25.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists.
MVP talk must involve Kobe Bryant even though he has taken home the award just once in his Hall of Fame career. Kobe has not been torching teams with the same regularity yet he still ranks 3rd in the league in scoring, but the Lakers find themselves tied for 3rd place in the West. As long as Bryant is healthy his name will be mentioned on the MVP ballot at the end of the year.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks: 24.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 54.5% FG.
The 2007 MVP is once again putting up impressive numbers and doing it for a team that is piling up wins. The recent injury to Caron Butler will likely hurt the team, however with an inspired performance it could help Dirk’s MVP case.
Deron Williams, Jazz: 22.2 points, 9.3 assists, 3.9 rebounds.
In my opinion he is the best point guard in a very deep group in the NBA. The Jazz are tied for 3rd place while adjusting too many new faces. Boozer, Mathews, Korver, Miles are all gone and Okur has been out, yet Williams and the Jazz are still one of the best teams in the league. It also helps that he ranks 12th in points and 4th in assists. He won’t win it this year but an All-NBA 1st team should be in the cards.
LeBron James, Heat: 24.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists.
The back-to-back reigning winner of the MVP trophy says he won’t win it this year. Is this a random moment of self deprecation? It doesn’t matter what he says, he will be considered. The Heat have a great chance to pass the Celtics (only .5 game back right now) for 1st place in the East because of Boston’s injuries coupled with Miami’s recent performance. Also I am pretty sure Michael Jordan still won the award a few times with Scottie Pippen on the team. Monster numbers on a winning team = MVP.
Dwyane Wade, Heat: 24.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists.
Same rules apply for LeBron. Perhaps these guys would split votes if they has similar numbers (like they do now) and were the #1 seed in the playoffs. Even still I think each one has a chance at the award. Wade has caught fire as of late and now leads LeBron by .1 in points; they rank 5th and 6th in the league respectively. Another trip to the All-Defensive team for both will also help their consideration.
Rajon Rondo, Celtics: 10.6 points, 13.6 assists, 2.3 steals.
Given he’s missed 11 of the team’s 32 games, which would make winning the award a huge uphill climb, you have to wonder. What if Rondo put up these kinds of numbers for a full season and the C’s had the best record? Steve Nash won 2 (should have been 3) MVP awards and never averaged 13.5 assists in a season. Yes, Nash did score more points and we really shouldn’t even compare their shooting skills. But I wonder, in a year where LeBron and Wade are playing together, and Kobe isn’t dominating (as much), would Rondo have received many votes? Maybe he still can. The last time a player missed 11 games (so we would be assuming Rondo played in every game the rest of the way) and won the MVP award was Allen Iverson back in the 2000-01 season. AI played in 71 games but dropped a ridiculous 31.1 ppg.
It is really difficult to pick just one player as the MVP at this point in the year. If I had to choose I think I might take Kevin Durant, (he was my preseason pick). The Thunder will need to be a Top 4 seed in the West; Durant must defend his scoring title, and improve his rebounding to win it. LeBron and Wade will make a run for this thing too whether they think so or not. Who would you vote for?
Streaks! The Heat and Magic have both won 6 in a row. Miami had a double-digit winning streak snapped by Dallas but have since ripped off 6 straight, while Orlando made a major shake up to their roster and preceded to knock off the Spurs, Celtics, Nets, Cavs, and Knicks. Speaking of the Spurs they have won 4 consecutive since that Orlando loss and continue to own the league’s best record, 29-4.
The sorry Cavs have dropped 7 in a row; however it’s the Kings who maintain the worst record in the NBA. Believe it or not the Wizards, Nets, Cavs, T-Wolves, and Kings all have 9 or less wins here on the 3rd day of January. The #1 pick is up for grabs!
Around the NBA will be back next Monday. Thanks for reading.