Simple Mathematics
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Feb. 5, 2008 -- Last night after dinner, my son, who is in second grade, asked me to check his math homework.

Although it has been many years since I did greater than, less than, I had no problem pointing out that he had one of the 20 equations incorrect.

That got me to thinking: With no clear-cut favorite emerging in the Race to the MVP, I could use greater than, less than to figure out who occupies the No. 1 spot for this week.

Golden State’s Baron Davis > Boston’s Paul Pierce
Pierce is putting up solid numbers, but with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen as wingmen, it is debatable if he is the real leader of the C's. The pecking order for the Warriors is clear. There is Davis and then everyone else.

Line of the Week
Josh Smith, Hawks
Win vs. Sixers, February 4
19 points, nine assists, nine blocks, six rebounds, four steals
Davis < Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki
The Mavericks have the second best record in the West (tied with the Hornets). Dallas started playing its best ball of the season when a certain reigning MVP began elevating his play. You could argue that Nowitzki has Josh Howard, but then again Davis has Stephen Jackson.

Denver’s Allen Iverson > Nowitzki
Stat wise, Iverson has had better seasons, but he has definitely left his mark on the Nuggets. From getting players to feed off his emotions, to knocking down game-winners, he has taken the role of leader away from Carmelo Anthony.

Iverson < Phoenix’s Steve Nash
Nash’s team has five more wins than AI's and he is averaging four more assists and he gets credit for making everyone around him better.

Orlando’s Dwight Howard > Nash
Like Nash, Howard, who has emerged as the best center in the league, also powers a team that is in first place in its division. Hedo Turkoglu is having a career season for the Magic, but the rest of the roster isn’t exactly stockpiled with All-Star-caliber players. Nash has the privilege of playing with guys named Hill, Stoudemire and Marion.

Howard < Boston’s Kevin Garnett
KG is averaging almost 20 points and 10 rebounds and is the best player on the league’s best team.

L.A. Lakers’ Kobe Bryant > Garnett
Even before Garnett got sidelined because of injury, the Celtics were starting to cool off. Meanwhile, Bryant deserves props for keeping the Lakers afloat while Andrew Bynum heals.

Bryant < New Orleans’ Chris Paul
Paul plays defense (2.5 steals), passes (10.8 assists), rebounds (4.0) and scores (20.3). He shoots at a high level and has made David West into an All-Star. And, the Hornets have two more victories than the Lakers.

Cleveland’s LeBron James > Paul
If you just look at statistics, it is not even up for debate that LBJ is better. Couple that with the intangibles and it is clear why he is not only greater than Paul, but also everyone else in the Association. If the Cavaliers keep winning, the MVP is his for the taking.

Race to the MVP Weekly Leaders
Week 1: Tracy McGrady, Rockets
Week 2: Kevin Garnett, Celtics
Week 3: Dwight Howard, Magic
Week 4: Howard
Week 5: Howard
Week 6: Howard
Week 7: Garnett
Week 8: No R2MVP
Week 9: Garnett
Week 10: Garnett
Week 11: Kobe Bryant, Lakers
Week 12: Bryant
Week 13: Chris Paul, Hornets
Week 14: LeBron James, Cavaliers

  • E-mail your feedback or talk about it in the R2MVP open forum.

    Biggest drop of the week: Caron Butler, Wizards (-4).
    Biggest rise of the week: Carlos Boozer, Jazz and Yao Ming, Rockets (+3).

    Race to the MVP - The Top 10
    1. LeBron James, Cleveland | Team Record: 26-20
    30.1 7.9 7.2 2.0 1.1 .480 .706
  • Last Week's Rank - 2
    According to STATS, LeBron has been the clutchest player in the league this season. If you need proof that he has also been the best player in the league, read this article by Brian Windhorst of The Akron Beacon Journal.

  • 2. Chris Paul, New Orleans | Team Record: 32-15
    20.3 4.0 10.8 2.5 0.0 .477 .879
  • Last Week's Rank - 1
    I wonder at what point of the game did Jazz fans start e-mailing me to point out how Deron Williams (29 points, 11 assists) was dominating CP3 (six points, six assists) on Monday? Paul's streak of 11 straight games with 10 or more assists was snapped and New Orleans has dropped three in a row.

  • 3. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers | Team Record: 30-16
    28.5 6.3 5.2 1.9 0.5 .461 .836
  • Last Week's Rank - 3
    Time for me to be a company man. Be sure to turn to NBA TV tonight at 7:30 ET to see how Bryant and his new partner in crime, Pau Gasol, get along when the Lakers visit the Nets.

  • 4. Kevin Garnett, Boston | Team Record: 36-8
    19.2 9.9 3.8 1.4 1.4 .551 .803
  • Last Week's Rank - 4
    Garnett, who has missed the last three games for the Celtics with an abdominal strain, is expected to be out until at least Sunday.

  • 5. Dwight Howard, Orlando | Team Record: 31-19
    21.8 14.6 1.4 1.0 2.5 .598 .597
  • Last Week's Rank - 5
    It doesn't appear D12 and Co. are going to slow down. The leaders in the Southeast Division (31-19) have won seven of their past 10 and Howard, who has scored in double digits in every game but one and has pulled down at least 10 rebounds in every game but six, is the main reason why.

  • 6. Steve Nash, Phoenix | Team Record: 34-14
    17.2 3.5 11.8 0.7 0.0 .509 .902
  • Last Week's Rank - 6
    Nash is currently averaging a career-high 11.8 assists per game for the best team in the West, yet he doesn't seem to be receiving a lot of MVP love from the media. I guess when you have already won the award twice, you tend to get overlooked.

  • 7. Allen Iverson, Denver | Team Record: 29-18
    26.9 3.0 7.1 2.3 0.2 .447 .820
  • Last Week's Rank - 8
    After going 2-for-11 from the field in the first half against the Blazers on Monday, AI showed it is not how you start, but how you finish that matters by doing this.

  • 8. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas | Team Record: 32-15
    22.3 8.7 3.8 0.7 1.0 .475 .875
  • Last Week's Rank - 7
    Dirk has notched a double-double in five of his past six games, but despite his strong play, Dallas has lost two of three.

  • 9. Baron Davis, Golden State | Team Record: 29-19
    21.9 4.8 8.1 2.5 0.5 .423 .745
  • Last Week's Rank - 9
    I still can't believe that B-Diddy didn't make the All-Star Game. If you agree, let your voice be heard here.

  • 10. Paul Pierce, Boston | Team Record: 36-8
    20.3 5.7 4.9 1.4 0.4 .437 .829
  • Last Week's Rank - 11
    I have to admit, I was kind of shocked to see that Pierce is the Lenovo leader, the stat that looks at the point differential when players are in and out of a game.
  • On the Outside Looking In (averages - last week's rank)
    11. Carlos Boozer (UTA): 21.9 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 2.9 APG - (14)
    12. Chris Bosh (TOR): 22.7 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.2 APG - (13)
    13. Brandon Roy (POR): 19.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 5.8 APG - (10)
    14. Yao Ming (HOU): 22.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 2.4 APG - (17)
    15. Tim Duncan (SAS): 19.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.1 APG - (15)
    16. Caron Butler (WAS): 21.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 4.4 APG - (12)
    17. Amare Stoudemire (PHX): 22.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.1 APG - (16)
    18. Deron Williams (UTA): 19.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG. 9.7 APG - (20)
    19. Chauncey Billups (DET): 17.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 7.0 APG - (18)
    20. Carmelo Anthony (DEN): 25.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.4 APG - (19)
  • Dropped out: None.

  • Running the Floor

    Last week when I gave out my midseason awards, I received a bunch of e-mails stating that instead of just listing my top choice, I should have gone at least two or three deep. You asked, I listened.

    Defensive Player of the Year
    1. Marcus Camby, Nuggets
    2. Kevin Garnett, Celtics
    3. Dwight Howard, Magic
    Sixth Man
    1. Manu Ginobili, Spurs
    2. Leandro Barbosa, Suns
    3. Travis Outlaw, Blazers
    Most Improved
    1. Chris Kaman, Clippers
    2. Andrew Bynum, Lakers
    3. Al Jefferson, Wolves
    Coach of the Year
    1. Nate McMillan, Blazers
    2. Byron Scott, Hornets
    3. Doc Rivers, Celtics
    Rookie of the Year
    1. Kevin Durant, Sonics
    2. Al Horford, Hawks
    3. Juan Carlos Navarro, Grizzlies