This was an interesting week in the NBA’s MVP race.
LeBron James has fallen victim to his own expectations, and has his eyes on a bigger prize. Kevin Durant wants this MVP more, and it has become evident. Tomorrow night OKC visits Miami and you should expect to see Durant come out victorious again as the Thunder are playing the best basketball they have ever played as a team, winning six straight against teams like the Clippers, Heat, Lakers and Bulls (before Monday’s loss against Memphis).
Miami knows the regular season is pretty much meaningless to a team with championship aspirations. They have tunnel vision on that Larry O’Brien trophy. Dwyane Wade and LeBron are pacing themselves right now, catching breath before the playoffs, while Russell Westbrook and Durant haved turned it up to the max. So Durant and Westbrook have taken the advantage over LeBron and Wade respectively this week.
Durant hasn’t won an MVP yet, so he wants it now more than ever. On top of that, he deserves it more than ever, so look for him to really make strides in this race while LeBron slowly, but surely falls behind.
The competition heats up in our fifth edition of our weekly “Race to the MVP” Watch.
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10. DERRICK ROSE â€“ Last week: N/A
Last Week: No. 10, maintaining
Despite Rose being out for the past few weeks, there’s no way you can leave him out of the top 10 MVP candidates. This season he’s done enough to give the Bulls the best record in the league. That’s MVP-worthy in it’s own right. He expects to return before the playoffs begin. Depending on where the Bulls finish, their record ultimately decide where he finishes in this race. If they finish first, there really isn’t any way you can see Rose finishing out of the top five.
9. TONY PARKER â€“ Last week: 17.3 ppg/7.3 apg/5.0 rpg
LW: No. 9, maintaining
Tony Parker has continued to keep up his consistent level of play. As a result, the Spurs have only lost three games in the last two months (February and March). Parker has been able to contribute consistently without taking a large amount of shots. He took 20 shots or more in only two games last month, and he’s been able to maintain a positive output despite nursing his injuries. The Spurs are winners of six straight so TP has a tight grip on his spot in this MVP race.
8. CHRIS PAUL â€“ Last Week: 21.5 ppg/7.3 apg/5.0 rpg
LW: No. 8, maintaining
The Clippers seem to have finally found their niche. They’ve won their last six games and are right there with the Thunder and the Spurs as the hottest teams in the West. Chris Paul never accepted that role as the number one scorer for the Clippers, and that’s finally started to translate into wins. In three of his four games last week, Paul had a double-double. On top of that, his turnover numbers (1.2 a game) were extremely low last week. Paul has stayed true to his point guard duties and has continued to run the team the way he planned: low shot attempts for himself, with high assist and low turnover numbers.