Top 10 Late-Season NBA MVP Candidates

2014 NBA MVP: Top 10 Late-Season Candidates

LeBron Blake Griffin
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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.

10. Tony Parker

10. Tony Parker
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10. Tony Parker

10. Tony Parker
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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.

9. Kyle Lowry

9. Kyle Lowry
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9. Kyle Lowry

9. Kyle Lowry
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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.

8. Anthony Davis

8. Anthony Davis
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8. Anthony Davis

8. Anthony Davis
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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.

7. Stephen Curry

7. Stephen Curry
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7. Stephen Curry

7. Stephen Curry
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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.

6. Kevin Love

6. Kevin Love
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6. Kevin Love

6. Kevin Love
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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.

5. Paul George

5. Paul George
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5. Paul George

5. Paul George
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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.

4. Joakim Noah

4. Joakim Noah
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4. Joakim Noah

4. Joakim Noah
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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.

3. Blake Griffin

3. Blake Griffin
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3. Blake Griffin

3. Blake Griffin
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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.

2. LeBron James

2. LeBron James
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2. LeBron James

2. LeBron James
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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.

1. Kevin Durant

1. Kevin Durant
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1. Kevin Durant

1. Kevin Durant
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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.

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  • Logan

    Goran Dragic should be on the list instead of Anthony Davis, and maybe Kevin Love. He averages 20 points and 6 assists on ridiculous shooting numbers (50% FG, 40% 3-PT) and, most importantly, has led his team consisting heavily of former benchwarmers into the Western playoff race.