Over the past few weeks the MVP race has started to settle down between the three candidates that we thought we be in it at the end. Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant are just playing on levels that are out of this world right now.
With Chris Paul’s knee injury its fair to say that the race is most likely going to be between Durant and James at the end of the season. They’re both boasting PER’s above 28 right now. That’s head and shoulders above everyone else. Its safe to say that neither of them are going to need a narrative to win it at the end of the season.
That’s sometimes what MVP races–usually unjustifiably–come down to. Both of these guys are providing each other with a narrative. People, now more than ever, are calling them Larry and Magic 2.0. That’s more than enough of a story for anyone who needs something to write about.
1. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has a PER of 29.0 right now has had a tremendous two weeks of basketball. He’s scored over 40 points three times and has even managed a new career high in points against the Dallas Mavericks. Durant dropped 52 against Dallas in an overtime thriller that basically solidified him as the leader of the MVP race in the league right now. In the past five games, Durant has averaged 36.6 points on a 47% shooting clip while going to the line over 12 times per game–including two straight games of making at least 20 free throws. Oh, and he’s also leading the league in scoring again. Move over Kobe.
2. LeBron James
James is still doing James things. While we’ve got Kevin Durant in the headlines right now, LeBron is still shooting 55% from the field and 40% from beyond the arch. He’s solidified himself into a viable option in shooting situations. With that consistency, it makes him almost impossible to guard. He’s got a league high PER of 30.2 and if he finishes with the highest efficiency rating this season it’ll be the sixth consecutive year he’s done so.
3. Chris Paul
Paul’s MVP candidacy will definitely take a hit this week with him missing three games to a knee injury and then apparently tweaking it again last night against the Golden State Warriors. Still, Paul’s numbers this year have been mind boggling considering that he only plays around 33 minutes per game. He’s putting up 16.6 points per game and 9.7 assists per game. He’s been a machine offensively with an offensive rating of 127. He’s leading the league in steals again with 2.6 steals per game.
4. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo has been so up and down in the past few weeks. He’s third in the league in scoring with 29.2 points per game and is still shooting pretty well given that he takes over 2o shots per game. He’s become a better player since moving to the power forward position and is the reason why the Knicks are top five in efficiency. His shot selection hasn’t really changed. Just the position that he’s in when he takes them. He makes difficult shots look easy and when they’re closer to the rim they’re going to drop.
5. Russell Westbrook
While Kevin Durant is having himself an MVP caliber season, Russell Westbrook isn’t far behind. He’s got PER of 23.8 and he’s averaging a career high of 8.3 assists. His’ got a career high offensive rating of 111 and he’s doing a great job of keeping the ball moving in OKC.
6. Tony Parker
Parker has been the key of San Antonio’s offense for quite some time. He’s been the reason why the Spurs have been able to keep up the pace and win games. He’s got a PER of 22.6 and has an offensive rating of 116.
7. Blake Griffin
Griffin is only scoring 18 points per game and only grabbing 8.5 rebounds per game, but that’s only on the surface. He’s only playing 32.5 minutes per game because of the Clippers depth, but per 36 he’s averaging 20.1 points per game and 9.5 rebounds. He’s got a PER of 22.4 and he’s been able to be a very good defensive player this season.
8. Brook Lopez
Lopez has easily been the Nets best player this season and he’s been playing like it since P.J Carlesimo started coaching them. He’s averaging 18.5 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game along with 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 52% from the field. He’s got a 25.2 PER and is the main reason why the Nets are getting closer to catching the Knicks.
9. Stephen Curry
Obviously there were red flags coming up about Curry once again because of his “indefinite” ankle injury. It turned out that he wasn’t out for more than two games and he felt just as good as ever. He led the Warriors–along with Jarrett Jack–to a win over the Clippers last night where he hit four 3 point field goals in the fourth quarter.
10. David Lee
David Lee has easily been the best offensive big in the Western Conference. He makes up for a lot of things like his lack of size, short wing span, and lack of jumping capability with his basketball IQ, his post passing and scoring, and his shot range. He’s averaging 19.6 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per gaem all the while shooting 52% from the floor. He’s averaging 3.7 assists per game to boot.
12. Carlos Boozer
13. Tyson Chandler
14. James Harden
15. Zach Randolph
16. Joakim Noah
17. Serge Ibaka
18. Dwight Howard
19. Paul George
20. David West
21. Jrue Holiday
22. Kyrie Irving
23. Marc Gasol
24. Rajon Rondo
25. Kobe Bryant