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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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