Most teams are only about 20-25 games into this already action packed NBA season, but some players still stand out far above the rest. The MVP award is meant to given to the best performing player, as well as to the one that had the largest impact on their respective team. Some players would be first time winners, and some players would probably be sick of the gold statues already.
Let’s dive right into the top five potential winners:
5. Kobe Bryant – 29.3 ppg, 47 FG %, 5.3 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.6 spg, and 3.8 tpg. If Kobe was playing on a contending, or even a winning team, then his name would be much higher on this list. His personal stats are amazing for any player, not just one who has no cartilage left in his knees. His field goal percentage is a career high as is his 3-point percentage (38%). One statistic that does stick out negatively towards Kobe is that the Lakers have struggled severely when he scores over 30 points in a game this season. It’s hard to believe a player as dominant and successful as Kobe has won the MVP award only once before (in 2008). As the Lakers begin to figure things out (they have to, right?) look for Kobe to climb these rankings.
4. Zach Randolph – 17.2 ppg, 50 FG%, 12.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, and 2.2 tpg. While his stats may not jump off the screen, Zach Randolph is the gritty leader of an amazing Grizzlies team. He has rebounded the ball extremely well this year, and has helped lead the Griz to second place in the tough western conference. He is shooting well from the field, and knows his place in the offense (he has only taken an uncharacteristic four 3-pointers this year). Randolph will probably not win the award caused by his relatively low marquee name compared to the other candidates, but he certainly has earned on a spot on these rankings.
3. Lebron James – 25.5 ppg, 54.2 FG %, 8.6 rpg, 6.8 assists, 1.4 spg, and 2.6 tpg. On paper, Lebron is playing just as good as last year if not better, so doesn’t that merit him winning the award again? No. While Lebron is averaging career highs in rebounding, field goal percentage, and turnover rate, his team is not performing at as high a level as they should be. An even more important reason why he shouldn’t win the award (and the same reason he shouldn’t have won it last season) is that the Heat are a winning team with or without Lebron James. His value, while tremendous everywhere else, is relatively lessened by playing on a team with other future Hall of Famers.
2. Carmelo Anthony – 27.9 ppg, 47.3 FG %, 6.4 rpg, 1.9 apg, and 2.6 tpg. ‘Melo is having an unbelievable year, but what makes it even more special is how well the Knicks are playing with him as the leader. He is averaging a career high 3-point percentage (a staggering 46%), and his leadership on both sides of the floor has made an impact. It may not be clear in the statistics, but ‘Melo’s effort defensively is easily the best of his career, and that is occasionally punctuated with an amazing dive onto the floor or even into the fans. The Knicks are at the top of the Eastern Conference, and ‘Melo is the biggest reason for that. The big test this season–the only reason I don’t have him at #1–is what will happen to his play when Amar’e Stoudemire comes back. They have struggled playing together, and ‘Melo has excelled at the power forward position. If ‘Melo can keep up his production, and learn to be effective with STAT on the floor, then it won’t be a surprise if he wins his first MVP award this season.
1. Kevin Durant – 27.5 ppg, 51.5 FG%, 8.4 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.6 spg, and 3.4 tpg. Durant has continued his offensive dominance from previous years and is the NBA’s third leading scorer. He is averaging career highs in field goal percentage, rebounds, steals, blocks (1.3), and three-point percentage (43.9%). He is also by far the youngest player on this list, and his team is currently the best in the NBA. The Durantula has improved every year, and right now is playing at an extremely high level. If you take Durant off the Thunder, you might end up taking the Thunder out of the playoffs.