NBA MVP Tracker

It’s obviously extremely early in the season for this, but it’s still fun and worth debating over. So I’m giving you the MVP tracker for the season. We’ll try to keep it updated every two weeks and see which players end up in which spots. So without further ado, in reverse order, I present the MVP tracker for the 2010-11 season.

15.Russell Westbrook
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
Westbrook
6
21.2
6.5
7.2
2.3
41.1

Case: Kevin Durant might possibly finish the season with the bulk of the MVP votes, but the only reason he is able to play alpha dog and avoid the role of playmaker is because he has Westbrook directing the team. The former UCLA point guard is solid on defense and contributes in every facet of the game to help his team get wins. Furthermore, he is the only other player besides Kevin Durant for the Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3) that is completely fearless with the ball in his hands late in the fourth quarter. He is obviously a long shot for the award, but his performance early in the season warrants mentioning.

14. Kevin Durant
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
BPG
SPG
FG%
Durant
6
27.7
7.0
2.0
1.2
1.5
39.4

Case: Practically every sportswriter from every major website picked Durant prior to the season to win the MVP award.. Although we’re fairly early in the season, it’s important that we all remember that the MVP trophy is in large part decided based on individual brilliance but also on team performance. Consequently, KD needs to improve his field goal percentage and get his team winning at a higher rate. With that said though, if the Thunder get back to their winning ways, it might not matter what Durant’s shooting percentage is; because he will climb up the ladder of this list.
Quick observation: Is it me or has Durant been firing up a lot of contested jump shots this season?

13. Carmelo Anthony
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
Anthony
8
24.1
7.4
3.1
1.6
49.3

Case: Remember back in 2004 when Vince Carter was trying to get himself traded from the Toronto Raptors? He completely destroyed his trade value by refusing to play hard. He consistently let his man beat him and refused to attack the basket; instead parking himself out on the perimeter as if he was expecting Beyonce to come perform for him at the three point line. Never had we seen a star player care less than Vince. He made former Knicks center Jerome James jealous of guaranteed contracts.

My point? Unlike Carter, the Denver Nuggets (4-4) star understands that in order to drive up his trading value and get shipped out as early as possible, he has to play like a star. And so far in this early season, Anthony has outplayed the guy listed before who also happens to play the same position as him and that set the basketball world on fire during the World Championships..

12. Dwyane Wade
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
BPG
SPG
FG%
Wade
7
26.0
6.4
3.4
1.0
1.6
49.3

Case: Save for that subpar performance in Boston, Wade has been the second best shooting guard in the NBA. Much like a young Kobe Bryant (think circa 2000), Wade occasionally oversees the playmaking responsibilities, scores efficiently and is playing good consistent defense on opposing guards. Although Wade is listed high right now, if his teammates (you know, guys like LeBron James and Chris Bosh) elevate their level of play, it might drop Wade a few notches given the fact that he might be asked to do less heavy lifting.

11. Josh Smith
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
BPG
SPG
FG%
Smith
8
14.4
9.6
4.3
3.4
1.4
50.0

Case: Admit it, you were expecting to see Joe Johnson in this spot right? Well someone has to represent the Atlanta Hawks (6-2) but no it will not be Johnson. Smith is fourth in scoring, first in rebounding, blocked shots and steals on the team. He’s also leading the Hawks in highlights and intimidations so far this season. Anyone care to argue Joe Cool’s case? Didn’t think so.

10. Deron Williams
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
Williams
7
20.3
5.0
9.7
1.0
45.8

Case: Every year we have the “Chris Paul Vs. Deron Williams” argument and I obviously understand why people wish to have it: The Utah Jazz (4-3) star is a solid scorer from the point guard position and is also terrific at setting up his teammates. He’s not yet in the same league as Paul defensively but he is still improving. The one thing missing from Williams’ game? The ability to literally win games late all by himself.

9. Kobe Bryant
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
Bryant
8
24.1
5.8
4.3
1.0
44.0

Case: Some would expect him to possibly be in the top 5, but the truth is Kobe’s play so far this season does not warrant him being there….just yet. And ultimately, that should scare the rest of the league. It’s not that Kobe Bryant’s play has been subpar; not at all. If anything, the Black Mamba has watched his Los Angeles Lakers (8-0) grab the best record in the league simply by deferring a bit more to his teammates and truly only asserting himself offensively when his scoring is absolutely needed. As a result, his scoring is down but his shooting percentages are on par with what he has done for his career (career 45.5% field goal percentage); so clearly it’s more so a product of him shooting less this season with the emergence of players such as Steve Blake, Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown. And by the way, blowing out your opponents tends to keep your statistical production low. Also, Bryant’s candidacy is adversely affected by one of his teammates, which you will see later.

8. LeBron James
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
BPG
SPG
FG%
James
8
20.6
5,5
8.6
1.0
1.6
44.2

Case: The Heat small forward is no where near replicating what he did last season when he led the Cavaliers to 66 wins as the undisputed star of the team; but he is still a star player in the NBA. James assumes most of the ball handling duties for his team and is also responsible for getting the Miami Heat (5-3) into their offense. He needs to cut down on his turnovers but overall has done a decent job managing the offensive possessions. On defense, James has been stellar by clogging passing lanes and also by contesting the shots of unsuspecting offensive players attacking the rim. Much like Kobe Bryant though, the former two time MVP has not had to assert himself much on the offensive end (save for the season opener in Boston) given the performance of his teammates, and yet he has probably been the most important player for his team given his passing skills. With that said though, I feel fairly confident in saying that Kobe Bryant should probably pass him soon and overtake a higher seeded slot once he starts to put the squeeze on opponents.

7. Tim Duncan
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
BPG
FG%
Duncan
6
17.0
10.7
2.3
2.0
58.1

Case: Clearly not the player he once was, but he still gets the job done. In a league that highlights the athletic exploits of its players, Duncan keeps on getting by thanks in large part to his fundamentals. His post game is still amongst the best in NBA and he is still perhaps the best defensive anchor in the league. Duncan avoids useless fouls, protects the basket, guards low post players, contests shots and rebounds his area. As long as the San Antonio Spurs (5-1) keep winning, expect to see the former Wake Forest center on this list throughout the year.

6. Rajon Rondo
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
Rondo
8
11.1
5.5
14.8
3.1
47.0

Case: Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will probably one day all end up in the Hall of Fame. And yet, the Boston Celtics (6-2) title hopes rest on the broad shoulders and freakishly large hands of Rajon Rondo. The way the team is presently constructed, the only way for the Celtics star players to get shots is through Rondo. He gets to pick who gets the ball and where. Whether it’s Ray Allen for a baseline three point shot, KG for a top of the key jump shot or Pierce isolated in the pinch post; it’s Rondo’s job to play with his toys. And in case you’re still not convinced; he is perhaps the only player on the team that no one in the league has answer for. If you watched the playoffs last year, not Wade, LeBron or Kobe (all three will one day be in the Hall of Fame by the way) really limited the damage he did against them; and he’s actually been better this season.

Between setting up teammates and disrupting his opponents offense by getting into passing lanes or simply shutting down the opposing point guard; Rajon Rondo’s play so far this season has been nothing short of “MVP-esque”.

5.  Monta Ellis
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
Ellis
7
27.9
4.3
4.4
2.7
52.1

Case: Tell me you expected the Golden State Warriors (5-2) to be this good this season? Maybe we expected them to be relatively better than what they showed us last season, but not this much better right? Well we have to attribute some of the praise to the NBA’s leading scorer. Indeed, Ellis has been scorching teams from every where on the court (remember when the Warriors were thinking about trading him?) and has also seen his playmaking and defense improve this season. Ellis is finally surrounded by talented players that are not crazy or longing for attention for a change (yes, Stephen Jackson and Baron Davis I’m talking to you). Instead, he has a slew of healthy bodies to bang on the boards (Lee, Biedrins and Gadzuric) and a talented point guard (Curry just returned form injury) that can help in the scoring department thus making it tougher to key in him. So far, our candidate has been unstoppable, and that’s what an MVP should be.

4. Dirk Nowitzki
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
BPG
FG%
Nowitzki
6
25.7
8.7
1.3
0.8
57.7

Case: At what point do we start talking about the Mavericks star as one the best players in the league? We hear a lot of names mentioned, and yet rarely do we mention Disco Dirk . His Dallas Mavericks (4-2) have signature wins this season versus the Nuggets and Celtics; and he has been the main reason why. His rebounding this season is almost on par with his always consistent scoring. He is still one of the toughest match ups in basketball; and thus cannot be guarded with one specific type of player. His ultra efficient scoring (57.7 FG% as a jump shooter is ridiculous) makes him perhaps the most potent scoring weapon in the league after two weeks and half of basketball.

Random observation: The list of forwards to have averaged at least 23 points per game and eight rebounds per game is a fairly short one. But here are a couple of names you might recognize: Elgin Baylor, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and …..Dirk Nowitzki.

3. Dwight Howard
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
FG%
Howard
6
23.2
11.3
1.5
1.2
2.7
57.6

Case: I picked Dwight Howard before to season to win the MVP award and he seems to be on track to be in the discussion by season’s end. Mind you, his rebounding has slipped a bit (career average 12.6 rebounds per game) and he is still fouling at a relatively high rate (4.2 fouls per game). With that said, he has been unquestionably the best player on an Orlando Magic (5-1) team that happens to be one of the best squads in the league. I do wonder though if Dwight Howard will have a career in which he is always overshadowed by other superstars such as…..

2. Chris Paul
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
Paul
7
17.8
5.4
9.9
2.4
51.1

Case: I’m thinking of having a weekly post in which I give out the award for best players by position. Although I have not yet started this, if I had, Chris Paul would have won the Magic Johnson award for best point guard. What would be the requirements for the prestigious award?
  • Set up the offense and set up teammates
  • Score when needed (preferably efficiently)
  • Help out on the boards
  • Disrupt opponents offense
  • Not a deal breaker, but having tons of swagger helps.

 After reading those criteria, you should have whispered “check” for each and everyone of them when applying them to CP3. By the way, if you’re getting compared to Magic Johnson (on the basketball court obviously, because off the court, well you know) who just happens to be the best point guard of all time, you’re probably doing something right. With that said, the only reason the New Orleans Hornets (7-0) guard  is not first overall, is because he hasn’t been as good as….

1. Pau Gasol
PLAYER
G
PPG
RPG
APG
BPG
FG%
Gasol
8
23.4
10.8
4.8
1.3
55.0

Case: The most dominant player right now, on the most dominant team in the league.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.

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