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NBA MVP Watch: December 6th
Posted By Richard Hardy On December 6, 2012 @ 5:00 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Welcome to week five of HOOPSWORLD’s weekly MVP watch. This week, the leading scorer in the NBA was knocked off of the top five list. We also have a familiar face returning to number one after a week at number two.
It was difficult for me not to include Kevin Love in this week’s top five. But after only seven games, it’s too early to put him ahead of these five guys. I don’t doubt that at some point he will find his way onto the MVP list.
For now, here is our breakdown of the 2012-13 NBA MVP race, after five weeks of basketball.
#5 – Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs
18.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.4 blocks, 0.9 steals
Tim Duncan and the Spurs were clearly motivated by the “Restgate” fallout in their 99-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. For only the second time in the team’s first 18 games, Duncan played for 41 minutes and he was on fire. He had 21 points in the first half, and finished with 27 points in the game. He shot 64 percent from the field and he was 5-5 from the free throw line. Duncan also grabbed 15 rebounds and had four assists in the game. Despite the Spurs’ injuries and Ginobili having one of his worst seasons in recent years, the Spurs remain third in the NBA in winning percentage and in third place in the Western Conference. Duncan’s points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals are up from last season. If Duncan can continue playing like this, there is no reason why he couldn’t get a few votes come the end of the season.
#4 – Zach Randolph – Memphis Grizzlies
17.7 points, 13.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks
Before Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Zach Randolph had two of his worst offensive performances of the season. In Friday’s blowout win against Detroit, Randolph was held to eight points, only hitting 37 percent of his shots. He also grabbed his lowest amount of rebounds of the season. In the Grizzlies’ loss to the Spurs on Saturday, Randolph grabbed 15 rebounds but he shot 5-21 for his lowest shooting percentage of the season. But on Tuesday night, Randolph came out firing. He shot 68 percent from the field and hit all eight of his free throws. He finished with 38 points and also had a season-high 22 rebounds as the Grizzlies beat the Suns for their 13th win. At 13-3, the Grizzlies have the league’s best winning percentage. They’ve been one of the most surprising teams this season. While Randolph remains second in the NBA in rebounds and third among power forwards in scoring, Tuesday’s game was the first time that he has scored more than 20 points this season. Even if the Grizzlies finished first in the Western Conference at the end of the season, it would be difficult for Randolph to finish in the top three in MVP voting.
#3 – Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks
26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks
In the Knicks’ last three games, Carmelo Anthony is averaging 27.6 points. Anthony is in the top ten in rebounding at the small forward position. He has continued to put up points and the Knicks remain the best team in the Eastern Conference. But Anthony’s assists have been inconsistent and he’s had five games of four or more turnovers this season. He’s also taking 19.8 shots a game, which is first among the top ten in scoring. Anthony is also shooting his lowest free throw percentage since 2008-09. Even with the Knicks continuing to play well, it’s hard to envision Anthony ever reaching the top two this season. He needs to do more than just score for the Knicks. It also still remains to be seen how Anthony’s play will be effected by the return of Amar’e Stoudemire.
#2 – LeBron James – Miami HEAT
24.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.9 blocks
Despite LeBron James earning his first tripe-double of the season, the HEAT couldn’t close out last night in their 101-105 loss to the 2-13 Washington Wizards. Tuesday’s loss snapped the HEAT’s six-game winning streak. Regardless of the loss, LeBron has averaged 25.6 points and 9.4 rebounds in his last five games. LeBron is fourth in the league in scoring and he passed Kevin Durant as the second-best rebounder at the small forward position. LeBron is shooting 53 percent from a floor and a career high 42 percent from the three-point line. Even with the HEAT losing to the lowly Wizards, they still remain tied with the Knicks for the best record in the Eastern Conference. With a winning percentage of 75 percent, the HEAT trail only Memphis, Oklahoma City and San Antonio for the best record in the NBA.
#1 – Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
26.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.6 blocks
During the Thunder’s six-game win streak, Kevin Durant is averaging 28.1 points per game. Despite his rebounding numbers dropping from earlier in the season, Durant is averaging career highs in rebounds, assists and steals. He’s also increased his scoring in each of the first five weeks. Most impressively, Durant’s field goal, free throw and three point percentages are all career highs for him this season. Durant is third in the NBA in scoring and less than a point separates he and Carmelo Anthony for second place. The Thunder have the most wins in the NBA and they have the second-best winning percentage. Durant seems to be in mid-season form and the season isn’t even a quarter of the way through. The team record is really what put Durant above LeBron James this week, but this race will continue to be close as the season rolls along.
Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers: 15.2 points, 15.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: 20.9 points, 8.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals
Will Carmelo Anthony ever pass Kevin Durant or LeBron James? When does Kevin Love deserve to be considered an MVP candidate? Who is your MVP after five weeks? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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