By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on March 20, 2014
The race for the 2014 NBA MVP is a two-horse race. No one is going to win the award outside of LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Outside of that two-horse race, though, there are plenty of other horses that have been absolutely tearing it up this season and deserve their due for their efforts. Enough with the horses, though; here are the top 10 MVP candidates with less than a month remaining in the regular season.
The San Antonio Spurs keep hanging out at the top of the Western Conference and that’s not happening without Tony Parker playing point guard. Because the Spurs and Parker have been doing it so long, Parker often doesn’t get the notoriety he deserves. However, he’s still been phenomenal running the show under Gregg Popovich.
Some might say calling Kyle Lowry an MVP-caliber player is a reach, but he’s played like it this season. Lowry ranks sixth in win shares this season for the surging Raptors, both scoring and distributing at a terrific rate. You could make a case for DeMar DeRozan as well, but Lowry’s contributions have been more important to this team’s playoff-run from where I’m sitting.
It’s only year two for Anthony Davis and you could already argue that putting him at eighth in an MVP race is too low. Because of time missed with a hand injury and the lack of success of the Pelicans, I drop him down a few spots. However, Davis has been ridiculous on both ends of the floor and is well on his way to being the next big thing in this league.
Stephen Curry is still shooting the ball and that means the ball is still finding the bottom of the net after it leaves his hands. However, the sweet-shooting point guard has improved a great deal in his play-making ability this season, averaging a career-high in assists by a wide margin. He’s the heartbeat of this Warriors team and the reason why they’ll be a threat in the postseason, even as a lower seed.
It’s a shame that the Timberwolves are going to miss the playoffs (or so it seems right now) because it gives people reason to detract from what Kevin Love has done this season. His monster rebounding numbers have continued at 12.9 per game, but he’s also putting up a career-high 26.4 points per game in one of the most efficient shooting seasons of his career. Love is a stud, whether you choose to believe it or not.
Paul George has faded a great deal over the second half of the regular season. However, he’s still had a fantastic year for the Pacers and has been the alpha-dog for one of the league’s best team. This Indiana team has some kinks heading down the stretch and George’s struggles are a factor in that, but you can’t discredit his entire body of work because of a slump.
Joakim Noah deservingly gets the label as a high-energy, hustle-driven player. However, he’s proven to be that and more for Chicago without Derrick Rose. Noah has done it all. While he averages just 12.3 points per game, he’s a huge asset offensively for his ability to distribute out of the post. Throw that in with his elite defensive ability and rebounding numbers and you could make a case for him as a top-three candidate for MVP.
I don’t think people are fully appreciating how good Blake Griffin has been this year and how much he’s improved. Yeah, he can still dunk tremendously. However, his post-game has further evolved and so has his comfort-level with the ball in his hands offensively. Griffin has carried this Clippers team for much of the year and is secretly the key to their seemingly realistic title hopes.
My views on the top-two MVP candidates have basically been like an oversized tire at a CrossFit gym: constantly flipping back and forth. LeBron can still take the award if he can lead the Heat to the one seed and do so with monster numbers. While recognizing how fantastic he’s been, though, it’s just too hard to put him at number one right now.
Considering I had LeBron at two, obviously I have Durant as the leader. Durant is just short of joining the 50-40-90 club for the second-straight season (free throw percentage at 87.1), but he’s done so with a ridiculous usage rate and also averaging a career-high in scoring at 31.8 per game. He’s also putting up career-best assist numbers and having arguably his best defensive season. For now, Durant gets the trophy, but it's still a race.
January 29, 2015 by RantSports Staff
It appears as though brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris of the Phoenix Suns do more than just play basketball together. Read More
January 29, 2015 by Kevin McHugh
The results are in for the selections of the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge and there it is a solid list of young players. However, there was one player in Boston who was overlooked. Read More
January 29, 2015 by Metta World Peace
In his official blog, Metta World Peace discusses what his Super Bowl halftime show would look like. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Nick Villano
The NBA sees players turn into stars every season. Here are 10 that are on their way this season. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Abdikarim Hashi
Toronto Raptors get first convincing win since Dec. 28 by hitting a season high 17 three pointers. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Shane Phillips
The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the great surprises of this NBA season and have won 17 games in a row, but none of that will matter come April and the playoffs. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Kevin McHugh
The Boston Celtics dropped the final game on their six-game road trip to the Timberwolves. Even with the loss, Marcus Smart had an impressive stretch of playmaking and made a case for a starting role. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Michael Terrill
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving's career high is a jumping board for Cleveland to go on a serious run. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Mike Gibson
If all goes as planned, the trio of rookies who are seeing a lot of time as starters this season for the 76ers will be backups down the line and their effort now bodes well for the future. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Nick Wilder
While there isn’t one clear favorite to win the NBA title so far this season, several teams are capable of making a run and winning the championship. Read More
The Boston Celtics are exceeding expectations and are currently three games out of the playoffs. Here are their midseason grades. Read More
January 28, 2015 by Ian McEwan
Disappointment is born from excessive expectation. Who has failed to meet expectations thus far? Read here to find out. Read More