With only a few games left on the slate it’s looking like LeBron James will be our MVP for 2012. His main competition, Kevin Durant, has surrendered, recently quoted saying:
“He [LeBron] deserves all the love [for MVP], He’s playing phenomenal basketball. I’m just trying to get better every single game and trying to help my team as much as I can. I’m just blessed to be in that conversation.”
Here’s what the Top 10 MVP Candidates looks like today:
10. Andrew Bynum â€“ Last week: 19.7ppg/6.5rpg/1.1bpg Stock: falling
Bynum has been scoring the basketball consistently, however this past week he was a shell of himself on the glass. No double-digit rebound performances in his last 4 games. In an embarrassing loss against the Western Conference leading San Antonio Spurs, Bynum only had 2 rebounds in 30 minutes. Then against OKC on Sunday, Coach Mike Brown felt more confident with Bynum on the bench in a comeback victory that was extremely close down the wire. So it’s clear to see that with Bryant back, Bynum’s role has depreciated a bit. However, if the Lakers want to do damage in the playoffs, 2 rebounds in 30 minutes just isn’t going to cut it.
Last week: 9
9. Carmelo Anthony â€“ Last week: 29.7ppg/5.0apg/7.5rpg Stock: Rising
Carmelo has continued his scorching hot shooting for the month of April. Aside from his performance at Cleveland on Friday, ‘Melo has been playing his best basketball of the season lately. He began last week by putting up a triple double against Boston with 35 points on 13-24 shooting, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Then he followed that up by putting up 33 on New Jersey. He struggled in Amare’s return against Cleveland on Friday shooting 5-13 with only 12 points., but he bounced right back against Atlanta on Sunday for 39 points in a winning effort. Carmelo has come alive just in time for the Knicks, they are in comfortable standing with the playoffs approaching and they have ‘Melo to thank for that.
Last Week: 10
8. Kevin Love – Last week: N/A Stock: falling
Thankfully, Kevin Love’s injury isn’t as serious as it originally seemed to be. He has been cleared to play the remaining games on the Timberwolves’ schedule, however his season is indeed finished. The best thing for Love to do is collect himself, and get ready to work hard in preparation for a run at a gold medal this summer. With the absence of Dwight Howard, who is undergoing back surgery this summer, Love’s contribution will be much needed. In terms of this MVP race, Love’s body of work speaks for itself. He’ll finish in the top four in both scoring and rebounding. 26ppg and 13rpg, without a doubt the best season by any big man this year.
Last week: 7
7.Dwyane Wade â€“ Last week: 18.0ppg/5apg/3.0rpg Stock: falling
Wade sat out in Miami’s loss against Washington on Saturday and in the win against Houston on Sunday. Against Chicago on Thursday (the only game he played all week) his contribution was huge. He made some big baskets down the stretch to keep the game out of reach, and he played well defensively. He hasn’t been putting up eye opening MVP type numbers as of late. When you factor in the amount of games he’s missed this year, and Miami’s record without him on the floor, it’s hard to picture him finishing in the top 5 in voting.
Last week: 5
6. Tony Parker â€“ Last Week: 15.6ppg/9.0apg/2.6rpg Stock: rising
The Spurs have officially clinched the best record in the Western Conference. They have been the hottest team in basketball for the past two months. Had it not been for a 5-point loss against Denver in early March, a 7-point loss to Dallas in the middle of March, and a tough-14 point loss to the Lakers early this month, the Spurs could be on a 26-game winning streak right now. When you win 23 of your last 26, someone is well deserving of some acknowledgement. Aside from the obvious, Coach Popovich, that somebody is Tony Parker. With Duncan getting older, Ginobili fighting injuries, he’s had the ball in his hand a lot more often. He’s having his best season as a pure point guard, all while averaging 18 points a game. If there’s any one player on the Spurs that deserves to be in the MVP conversation, it’s Tony Parker.
Last week: 8
5. Russell Westbrook â€“ Last week: 14.0ppg/5.2apg/4.0tpg Stock: falling
Last week might just have been Russell Westbrook’s worst week of the season. He had his lowest scoring average through 4 consecutive games with some horrendous shooting nights (4-16 against the Clippers, 3-22 against the Lakers) and a terrible assist to turnover ratio. What people don’t realize is, Kevin Durant is right. The Oklahoma City Thunder are only as good as Russell Westbrook is. He’s the determining factor in their success. If he plays efficiently, and scores high numbers their almost impossible to beat, but when he struggles they look very regular.
Last week: 4
4. Kobe Bryant – Last week: 22ppg/4.5apg/4.0rpg Stock: rising
Kobe made his return against San Antonio on Friday. In his first game back, he finished with 18 points on 7-12 shooting in a 24-point loss. Against Oklahoma City on Sunday, he was struggling for the first 3 quarters, however he put on yet another remarkable Kobe Bryant Clutch Performance in the 4th quarter and overtime, finishing with 26 points on 9-26 shooting in a crazy comeback victory. The Lakers were in a tight race with the Clippers for the division, so Kobe’s clutch performance was a major part of their clinch. Even though he wasn’t having a great shooting night, he found a way to get the job done, and held Russell Westbrook to 3-22 shooting. He is currently locked in the tightest scoring race in NBA history with Durant – that outcome will play a factor in these final rankings.
Last week: 6
3. Chris Paul â€“ Last week: 21.2ppg/10.2apg/3.5spg Stock: maintaining
In his first season as a Clipper, Chris Paul had his team contending for a Pacific division championship. That speaks volumes about his value alone. The Clippers have only lost 3 games this month, including a close loss to Phoenix on Thursday. Chris Paul has had 4 double-double’s in his last 5 games and has closed out some really close ones. The fact that Chris Paul has turned the Clippers into a sure-fire playoff team in just one season is impressive enough to be in the conversation. If the Clippers finish as the division leaders, there’s no reason he shouldn’t finish 3rd in voting.
Last week: 3
2. Kevin Durant â€“ Last week: 29.2ppg/9.5rpg/4.2apg Stock: maintaining
After Kevin Durant gave up the lead in the race to the MVP against LeBron James in their final head to head matchup, he hasn’t been able to get it back. At first, it seemed as if KD wanted this award more than anybody. He’s overdue for his first MVP and this season was supposed to be his year to win it, while LeBron was supposed to be more focused on winning a championship. The Thunder have lost their last 6 games against playoff teams since their win against Chicago on the 1st of April.
Last week: 2
1. LeBron James â€“ Last week: 31.0ppg/7.5rpg/5.5apg Stock: maintaining
It’s looking like LeBron James will win his 3rd MVP trophy this season. After Durant admitted LeBron deserves the award over him, there’s really nothing that can stop him from winning it at this point. He’s leading his team in points (27.1), rebounds (7.90) and assists (6.2) in one of, if not his most efficient season. Most importantly, in 10 games without Wade, LeBron lead Miami to a 9-1 record. After Durant admitted LeBron deserves the award over him, the race was pretty much over. 3 MVP’s in 9 seasons is remarkable, but LeBron needs that Finals MVP to validate it all. In this last week going into the playoffs, LeBron’s minutes will likely be monitored as the Heat are sitting tight with the 2nd seed.
Last week: 1
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