The Top 10 NBA MVP Candidates, Week 3

By: 03.20.12
Kevin Love

Kevin Love (photo. Blake Peterson)

Last week was an interesting seven days for our MVP race. Derrick Rose has been out with an injury, which left room for others to move up in the ranks. D-Wade is back to playing MVP-worthy basketball, which makes things a bit tougher for LeBron individually. Kevin Durant‘s level of play is ridiculously consistent, despite Russell Westbrook taking basically the same number of shots as him.

So the race isn’t LeBron’s to lose, despite what people are thinking. There is a lot to be determined in the oncoming weeks in the NBA MVP race. At this point in the season, you can’t count out anybody, but by the recent looks of it, Kobe Bryant is slowly shooting himself (literally) out of contention, Tony Parker is still cooking and Chris Paul is conflicted.

The competition heats up in our third edition of our weekly “Race to the MVP” Watch. Here is our MVP update for last week, (Monday through Sunday)…

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10. TONY PARKER – Last week: 25 ppg/9.3 apg/2.8 rpg
Last Week: No. 10, maintaining
Through four games since last Monday, Tony Parker averaged just about 25 and 10 against some pretty good teams. Not only was he scoring, and distributing, he was shooting an efficient field-goal percentage. In his only two home games last week, he went 13-for-18 against Washington with 31 points, then another 31 against Dwight and co., shooting 12-for-21 which is still above 50 percent.

In his 1st game on the road he went 10-for-22 at OKC with 25 points, which was enough for the victory. Then on Saturday the Spurs took their first lost of the week at Dallas, but Parker had a double-double with 13 and 11. Now with the addition of Stephen Jackson, TP gets another seasoned vet, and yet another scoring threat to distribute the ball to.

TP is in a tight spot right now in the MVP race. In the upcoming weeks he could either move past Kevin Love with the success of his team as the deciding factor, or he could fall out of the top 10 with the way Andrew Bynum has been playing recently.

9. KEVIN LOVELast week: 25.7 ppg/12.2 rpg/1.0 apg
LW: No. 7, falling
Kevin Love finally came back down to earth against Pheonix on Tuesday in his first game without a double-double since the end of February. However, he picked it right back up with three double-doubles against the Jazz, Lakers and Kings respectively, although they were all in losing efforts. Kevin Love’s individual play has been off the charts, but he just can’t seem to translate it into wins. That’s been his problem all season long. If he can begin to get consistent wins and put the Timberwolves in a comfortable position to become a playoff team, he can make significant strides in this MVP race. It’s really hard to fathom the impact Kevin Love could have on different team. You could only imagine where he would be in this MVP race if he were playing for a more competitive team.

8. CHRIS PAULLast Week: 15.8 ppg/9.0 apg/5.0 rpg LW: No. 5, falling
It’s been tough goings for Chris Paul and the Clippers as of late. They’ve been losing more games than they’ve been winning recently, and just can’t seem to close games out down the stretch. Chris Paul is still trying to limit his shot attempts and create more for his teammates, which are his natural instincts, but when games come down to the stretch his rhythm just isn’t there.

With the absence of Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul has officially turned into the number one scoring option for the Clippers late in games; He just hasn’t seemed to realize it yet. Blake isn’t developed enough to be the go-to-guy for the Clippers down the stretch, and frankly there just isn’t anyone else for Chris Paul to turn to. He’s got to realize that it’s time for him to become more aggressive and really start winning some games for his team: 3-2 last week in five games, which is better than the 1-3 they went the previous week. They have the addition of Nick Young who can help in the scoring department, but it’s gonna take some work for CP3 to get the Clippers riding high again.

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