The regular season is coming to an end and the playoffs are right around the corner. The last few weeks in this MVP race are the most important, as each superstar works to put their team in the best position to contend in the Playoffs. For Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose, the MVP is the least of their concerns. Both players are usually top candidates in the MVP conversation, however they both have gone through rough times this season and are focused solely on the playoffs.
The Bulls have played really well without Rose, which isn’t great for his MVP argument, and with all the distractions Dwight Howard has given Orlando, it’s hard for him to argue for votes as well.
But Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum are deserving of those votes. ‘Melo has reminded us he’s one of the league’s best by taking over just in time for New York, who are fighting to stay alive. Bynum has been playing his best basketball of the season at a time when the Lakers need him most. With the absence of Kobe, he’s had some time as the number one option for the Lakers and looks pretty comfortable being the guy.
Hopefully for the Lakers sake, it can stay that way while Kobe’s out, because Chris Paul‘s Clippers are making noise in April. They currently sit one game behind the Lakers in the Pacific Division. There’s a chance that CP3 and his Clips could finish as the division leaders and the third seed, which is better than most expected. If he could make that happen, he deserves to finish in the top three in voting. He’s successfully done what he’s set out to do, which is turn the Clippers into one of the best teams in the West.
Here are the results for this week’s “Race to the MVP” Watch (Monday through Sunday)…
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10. CARMELO ANTHONY â€“ Last week: 30.3 ppg/3.0 apg/6.5 rpg Last Week: N/A, Rising
With Derrick Rose’s regular season status up in the air, it’s hard to imagine him making a legitimate case for MVP votes even though the Bulls are still the league’s best team. When it almost appears your team is better without you, as ridiculous as it may sound, that’s a really tough knock on a star player, and in Rose’s case, the reigning MVP.
That same argument was made against Carmelo Anthony. While he was injured earlier this year, Jeremy Lin had Knick fans and the media speculating about whether the Knicks were a better team with or without Carmelo Anthony on the floor. Well, its safe to say Carmelo has put all that talk to a screeching halt. Maybe the absence of Jeremy Lin has something to do with it, but ‘Melo has absolutely taken over for New York. After his ridiculously clutch 43-point night against Chicago last Sunday, he’s averaged 30 points a game, including a 42-point, 9-rebound game against his arch-nemesis: LeBron and the Heat.
If the Knicks can finish anywhere above the eighth seed, Anthony deserves some sort of recognition. He’s willed them to a number of close victories, and has really bought into the trend of defending. Hopefully they can translate that into a competitive playoff run.
9. ANDREW BYNUM â€“ Last week: 21.7 ppg/16.3 rpg/1.0 bpg
LW: N/A, Rising
There’s no question that once the smoke clears, Dwight Howard will be back to playing like an MVP. But right now, he just simply isn’t in the conversation. He’s only played two games in the month of April, one of which was an atrocious eight-point, eight-rebound performance in 40 minutes in a loss against New York. The fact of the matter is Andrew Bynum has been the best center in the league this season. He deserves to be the center on the All-NBA First Team, and deserves some MVP votes.
With Bryant being out, Bynum has turned it up. He put together three double-doubles in four of his games last week, including that 16-point, 30-rebound game in a convincing win over the Spurs. In the one game he didn’t have a double-double, he still had 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting in a close win against Denver. The Lakers have been one of the best teams since the All-Star break and it has a lot to do with Andrew Bynum.
8. TONY PARKER â€“ Last Week: 9.8 ppg/6.8 apg/2.2 rpg
LW: No. 7, Falling
Gregg Popovich has been known to rest his veterans around the end of the season, and that’s exactly what he’s been doing. Because he’s armed with the strongest bench in the NBA and one of the best benches he’s had as a coach, the Spurs have been able to win games with their starters resting. Their streak of 10 straight wins came to an end on Wednesday against the Lakers, but the Spurs picked it right back up, with three straight wins against Memphis, Phoenix and Golden State, with Popovich monitoring Parker’s minutes in each game.