The 2011-12 NBA season is slowly winding to a close, and we’re getting closer to crowning a new league MVP. So, who is most deserving?
We take a look at the top contenders along with their argument to be named league MVP
Kevin Durant, G/F Oklahoma City Thunder
The obvious choice for the MVP award is Lebron, but if you were to take Durant off the Thunder would they be atop the Western Conference? No, they would be probably hovering around the five or six seed, maybe even battling for a playoff spot. Now if you were to take Lebron away from the Heat would they still be elite? Yes, because the lineup would still consist of two superstars, Bosh and Wade. Now Durant’s numbers are even more impressive than what he is doing as a leader. He is racking up nearly 28 points, but now he’s rebounding the ball like most post players, averaging a career high, eight rebounds per game. His assists are still fairly low at 3.5 per game, but he is starting to become more of a playmaker and sometimes his great passes don’t lead to assists.
Kevin Love, F/C, Minnesota Timberwolves
Okay, this might be a bit of a stretch to put Love over Lebron, but personally, I think Love is more deserving of the coveted MVP award. If it’s not enough to lead the Wolves to a far superior record than which they had last season, and then to still keep the Wolves in the playoff hunt without their emerging you point guard in Ricky Rubio, what is enough from Love? Score keepers can pretty much pencil in 14+ rebounds from Love nightly, and now that he has is knocking down three pointers like never before, the word unstoppable comes to mind. The UCLA product is averaging nearly 27 points and 14 rebounds per game, but the last week has really put him in MVP conversations. In that stretch he averaged 34 points and 15 rebounds, but the 51 point outburst against the Thunder where he hit seven three pointers, has really flared up MVP talk.
Lebron James, SF, Miami Heat
If Lebron was ranked any lower, I might’ve been killed. Every year Lebron is worthy of the MVP award, but playing for the Heat gives him a different reputation. He has by far and away been the best player throughout the entire season, which gets overshadowed at times. I mean the guy is almost averaging a triple-double with nearly 27 points, eight rebounds, and nearly seven assists, but he’s not as valuable to his team as the guys listed in front of him. The “decision” to go play with two other superstars will always be a factor when he is more than worthy of an award and with the year’s that Durant and Love are having, he might get snubbed of the honor.
Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Taking a team from good to great is one thing, but taking a team from terrible to elite is a quite a feat, and Chris Paul has managed to do just that in under 50 games in a Clippers uniform. He brings leadership skills that very few players in the league possess, while displaying one of the best skill sets in the league, making him one of the premier point guards in the NBA, if not the best. DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, and all the young players on the bench have benefitted from having Chris Paul around them daily, and not to mention that Paul makes them better while they’re on the court together. His leadership, work ethic, bulldog attitude, and the drive to win could give him an outside chance to win the award.
Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers
From the trade rumors, to the coaching change, and everything in between, Bryant still has his Lakers standing in third place out West. He is leading the league in scoring with 28 points per game, and is also averaging almost six rebounds and five assists. Without Kobe, I don’t think the Lakers would be in the playoffs right now, and that is saying something, considering that Bynum and Gasol pose one of the best frontlines in the league. Bryant continues to battle through injuries that would have most players sidelined for weeks with, and he is doing this all into his deep 30’s. It should be noted that Bryant is playing almost 39 minutes per game, five more minutes than last season. Whatever you do, just don’t doubt Kobe.