"Picking the MVP has a lot to do with record," Williams said. "A person can't be on a team that is five games under .500. They have to be on one of the top teams in the conference and be playing unbelievable basketball. It has to be someone that if you took them off the team, they would go from playoff caliber to garbage."
Race to the MVP Weekly Leaders Training Camp: Kevin Garnett, Celtics Preseason: Kevin Garnett, Celtics Week 1: Tracy McGrady, Rockets Week 2: Kevin Garnett, Celtics Week 3: Dwight Howard, Magic Week 4: Dwight Howard, Magic Week 5: Dwight Howard, Magic Week 6: Dwight Howard, Magic Week 7: Kevin Garnett, Celtics Week 8: Kevin Garnett, Celtics Week 9: Kevin Garnett, Celtics Week 10: Kevin Garnett, Celtics Week 11: Kobe Bryant, Lakers Week 12: Kobe Bryant, Lakers Week 13: Chris Paul, Hornets Week 14: LeBron James, Cavaliers Week 15: LeBron James, Cavaliers Week 16: LeBron James, Cavaliers Week 17: Kobe Bryant, Lakers
Last Week's Rank - 3
The pairing of Kobe and Pau Gasol has worked out better than anyone in Lakerland could have hoped. It is scary to think how much better Los Angeles can become when Andrew Bynum returns from injury. KB24 deserves props for performing at his typical high level despite his ailing pinky.
Last Week's Rank - 1
One day after being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, the king gets knocked off the throne. Stats are good, victories are better. Despite the off-the-chart individual numbers, James' Cavaliers have not done enough to help him hold off Bryant.
Last Week's Rank - 2
When reading the yet-to-be-written book recapping the 2008 NBA season, there will definitely be a chapter about Paul. Unfortunately for CP3 fans, it won't include any paragraphs about him being named MVP. Despite his special season, Paul finds himself on the outside looking in at what is shaping up to be a two-man MVP race.
Last Week's Rank - 5
From the Sad, But True category. Howard has garnered more notoriety for winning the Slam Dunk Contest than he has for averaging almost 22 points and pulling down 15 rebounds per game for the Southeast Division-leading Magic.
Last Week's Rank - 8
Nowitzki had already regained his MVP form and that was before the best point guard of the past decade started sporting a Mavericks uniform. Once Kidd gets a better understanding of where Dirk likes to catch the ball, you can expect an even bigger spike in his production.
Last Week's Rank - 14
The defending champs are rolling (six straight wins) and so is the Big Fundamental. He has scored at least 20 points in eight of San Antonio's past nine games. He has also reached double digits in rebounds in eight consecutive contests.
Last Week's Rank - 7
Despite losing three out of their past five, the Celtics still have the best record in the league. Pierce has been the one constant for the club. If MVP voters use the best player on the best team theory, he may get some love.
Last Week's Rank - 10
If you talk to some of the so-called experts, Garnett locked up the MVP award before the calendar switched to 2008. Hey, I know what he brings on the defensive end and I know how he changed the way of thinking in Boston, but he can't have too many more nights of 10 points and seven rebounds and 11 points and six rebounds like he had the past two games if he wants my nod.
On the Outside Looking In (averages - last week's rank)
Memo to Houston fans: The season isn't dead just because All-Star center Yao Ming is done for the year because of a stress fracture in his left foot. Yeah I know you guys are in the middle of a 12-game winning streak and his 22 points and almost 11 boards a game will be hard to replace. But don't forget how the Rockets surged last year when he was out. Led by Tracy McGrady, you guys went 20-12 without the big fella. Go dust off 41-year-old Dikembe Mutombo and try to prove the doubters wrong again.