As one of the most titillating, tumultuous, and tremendously interesting seasons in recent NBA history winds down, the Outsiders want to know who you think deserves this year’s MVP award. Here’s my list, in order:
1. Derrick Rose
His numbers are sick: 25 ppg, 8 apg, 4 rpg, 1spg and 37 minutes per game. Past that? Oh, just the best record in the East (51-19) and the second best record in the entire league behind the Spurs. Furthermore, he’s about he most user-friendly dude in the league, always accessible to the media and from what I hear, the fans too. He defends well, plays his heart out all the time and is the best leaper the Windy City has seen since some dude who wore Number 23…Michael somethingorother. He could also be the league’s most-improved player and is on the way to a historical career.
2. Dwight Howard
In Dwight’s case, his numbers, which are astounding by any measure, do not tell the whole story. 23 ppg, 14rpg, 2.5 bpg, 1.5 spg, and he shoots 60 percent from the field. But at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is, Dwight Howard is literally other Dwight Howard’s (as opposed to head and shoulders, get it?) above his competition. He’s the only center you need to really game plan for in the league, with the exception, arguably, of Andrew Bynum. There are other solid centers a la Tyson Chandler and Brook Lopez out there, but nobody comes close to Howard. He completely changes the game defensively as well, to the point where guys miss wide open layups simply because he’s in the vicinity. He’s led the Orlando Magic to an impressive 46-26 record and you should expect this team to make substantial noise in the playoffs. Although I still lean heavily towards D. Rose, Dwight actually isn’t too far behind.
3. LeCon James
As much as it sickens me to admit it, I still put LeCon third. You just cannot rationally argue against 26 ppg, more than 7 rpg, 7 apg, 1.4 spg and a division leading 49-22 record. Nonetheless, his inability to close out games is crystal clear at this point and, as so many of us have said over and over again, the man just does not have a Jordanesque killer instinct. Oh, also, you suck, LeBron.
4. Dirk Nowitzki
NOTE: After the top three, I’d say it’s all VERY arguable from this point on. Dirk’s numbers, as per usual, are terrific: 23 ppg, 7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 89% from the line, 41% from the three point line, 53% from the field and the Mavs are an impressive 49-21. Add to that that Mavs suffer terribly when Dirk’s out of the lineup and what you have is a very strong case for a fourth place finish.
5. Kobe Bryant
25 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg and the third best record in the league at 51-20. Amazing defense and heart and the guy’s been battling various injuries all year long. Kobe, much like Dirk, is of such great importance to his team that even if his numbers were slightly lower he’d still have to be in the conversation.
Honorable mention: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Amar’e Stoudemire. So what do you guys think? Totally disagree? Awesome. Tell us why.
-by Jamie Fedorko