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NBA MVP Watch: December 27th
Posted By Richard Hardy On December 27, 2012 @ 5:00 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Welcome to week nine of HOOPSWORLD’s weekly MVP watch. It’s been a wild week in the NBA. We saw the Timberwolves snap the Thunder’s 12-game winning streak and there were some great matchups on Christmas Day. This week we have a familiar face at number one. But we also have a first-timer on in the top 5. Chris Paul and the Clippers are carrying a 14 game winning streak. They’re the best team in basketball and he is a major key to their success. It’s been long overdue, but I feel that his play has officially earned him a spot in the top 5.
We still have a long way to go before we crown a winner, but here is this week’s breakdown of the 2012-13 NBA MVP race after eight weeks of basketball.
#5 – Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers
29.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.5 steals
After the Lakers 100-94 win over the Knicks on Christmas day, Kobe Bryant has scored at least 30 points in nine straight games. Kobe remains the leading scorer in the NBA and the Lakers are currently riding a 5-game winning streak. Despite Steve Nash returning and lighting a spark under the lowly Lakers, Bryant has been this teams heart and soul. He’s kept them in games and hit shots when they needed them. What has impressed me most about Kobe this season, is that he’s had five or more rebounds in 16 of the Lakers first 29 games this season. But the Lakers proved that they need a point guard in order for them to be successful this season. Kobe’s first instinct when he gets the ball is to score. The Lakers need Nash to get guys like Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard involved in games early. If Kobe continues on this pace, he should remain in the top 5, but it would be difficult for him to move down with the way that the Clippers are becoming the best team in Los Angeles.
#4 Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers
16.0 points, 9.5 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 steals
It’s been difficult for me to include Chris Paul in the MVP discussion this season because his points, assists and rebounds are all below his career averages. But the Clippers are currently on a 14 game winning streak. The Clippers may have the deepest team in the NBA, but it’s clear that Chris Paul is the leader of the team. Besides leading the league in steals, Paul is also second in assists and tied for first in assists-to-turnovers with 4.43. During the Clippers win streak, Paul has eight double-doubles and six games of one turnover or less. Paul’s numbers don’t jump out at you, but he’s been one of the most consistent players in the league this season. The Clippers have the best record in the NBA and if they continue to win like this, Chris Paul will continue to make his way down the MVP list.
#3 Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks
28.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals
Since Carmelo Anthony’s return from the ankle injury that kept him out of two games, he’s been on a tear. In his first four games back, the Knicks are only 2-2, but Anthony has scored at least 30 points in all but on game. In the game he didn’t score at least 30 in, he was ejected in the final minutes. Fouls have been a big concern for Anthony, since his return from injury. Anthony has averaged almost 4 fouls in those last four games. Anthony’s defense has always been suspect and now that he’s playing the power forward, teams are beginning to take him in the block and expose his size when guarding bigger men. This Knicks team has proven that they can win without Carmelo. They’re the best team in the Eastern Conference and they have and the fourth best record in the entire league. But Anthony is their go-to player down the stretch and if Anthony is fouling out in the fourth quarter, the Knicks will have to rely on someone else. Regardless of the foul trouble, Anthony remains second in scoring and first in the NBA in scoring per 48 minutes. In order for Anthony to pass Durant or James, he’s going to need to stay in games for the Knicks.
#2 Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
28.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.3 blocks
Lost in the shuffle of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s second loss in a row was Kevin Durant’s continued improvement this season. Yes, LeBron got the better of him in their Christmas day matchup, but Durant held his own until he missed the very last shot of the game. Despite the two losses, Durant is averaging 35.6 points and 9 rebounds in his last three games. Durant has also shot 50 percent or better from the field and 43 percent from three point range in those three games. Durant Remains third in scoring and third among the top ten in field goal percentage. While Westbrook has looked improved as well, he was as much or more to blame on Monday afternoon. Regardless of their current losing streak, The Thunder remain third in the Western Conference and it wouldn’t be surprising if they go on another winning streak before the mid-point in the season. But for the second week in a row, Durant has been outplayed by King James.
#1 – LeBron James – Miami HEAT
25.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks
For the second week in a row, LeBron James is the NBA MVP. He’s beginning to run away from the competition. This week LeBron has continued his streak of 20 points or more in every game this season. That number goes back 46 games when you count last season. During the HEAT’s 5-game winning streak, James has only committed three fouls. It’s a number that seems unfathomable when you consider how hard James plays and the amount of contact he makes in a single game. LeBron is fifth in the NBA in scoring, but he is shooting the highest percentage of the top 10 scorers in the NBA. James also has 14 double-doubles, while Durant has only 7. It’s easy to discount LeBron, but when he and Durant face off, James’ team always seems to come out on top.
James Harden, Houston Rockets: 25.7 points, 5.4 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals
David Lee, Golden State Warriors: 20.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.9 steals
Will LeBron James repeat as NBA MVP this season? Does Chris Paul have a chance to be MVP this season? Who’s your MVP after eight weeks of NBA basketball? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below! Check back next week to see who moved up and who moved down in the race for the 2012-13 MVP.
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