Real Experts Weigh In
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Feb. 26, 2008 -- Week after week, Iíve given you my Race to the MVP selections. Here are some up-to-the-moment picks from a trio of players who are a lot closer to the action than Iíll ever be.

LeBron James, Cavaliers
1. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
2. Chris Paul, Hornets
3. Kevin Garnett, Celtics
4. Dwight Howard, Magic

Deron Williams, Jazz
1. LeBron James, Cavaliers
2. Chris Paul, Hornets
3. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
4. Kevin Garnett, Celtics

Line of the Week
LeBron James, Cavaliers
Win vs. Pacers, February 20
31 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists
Dwight Howard, Magic
1. LeBron James, Cavaliers
2. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
3. Chris Paul, Hornets
4. Dwight Howard, Magic

"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."

Well said.

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

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

    Biggest drop of the week: Allen Iverson, Nuggets (-6).
    Biggest rise of the week: Tim Duncan, Spurs (+7).

    Race to the MVP - The Top 10

    1. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers | Team Record: 39-17
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    27.8 6.0 5.3 2.0 0.5 .463 .845
  • 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.

  • 2. LeBron James, Cleveland | Team Record: 32-24
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    30.1 8.2 7.5 2.1 1.1 .486 .708
  • 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.

  • 3. Chris Paul, New Orleans | Team Record: 37-18
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    20.7 4.0 10.7 2.7 0.0 .482 .878
  • 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.

  • 4. Dwight Howard, Orlando | Team Record: 36-22
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    21.8 14.5 1.4 1.0 2.4 .607 .598
  • 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.

  • 5. Steve Nash, Phoenix | Team Record: 38-18
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    17.5 3.5 11.4 0.8 0.1 .510 .894
  • Last Week's Rank - 4
    It is debatable whether Nash deserved to win two MVP trophies, but calling him overrated is a stretch.

  • 6. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas | Team Record: 38-19
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    23.2 8.7 3.9 0.7 0.9 .478 .875
  • 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.

  • 7. Tim Duncan, San Antonio | Team Record: 38-17
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    19.8 11.5 3.3 0.8 2.0 .510 .721
  • 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.

  • 8. Paul Pierce, Boston | Team Record: 43-12
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    20.6 5.6 4.8 1.4 0.4 .450 .837
  • 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.

  • 9. Carlos Boozer, Utah | Team Record: 36-20
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    21.5 10.8 3.0 1.3 0.4 .535 .728
  • Last Week's Rank - 11
    Boozer has posted six straight double-doubles, including a line of 22 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and five steals against the Sonics two weeks ago.

  • 10. Kevin Garnett, Boston | Team Record: 43-12
    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% FT%
    18.5 9.7 3.7 1.4 1.4 .536 .795
  • 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)
    11. Yao Ming (HOU): 22.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 2.3 APG - (12)
    12. Allen Iverson (DEN): 26.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 7.3 APG - (6)
    13. Baron Davis (GSW): 22.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 8.0 APG - (9)
    14. Deron Williams (UTA): 19.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 9.7 APG - (17)
    15. Chris Bosh (TOR): 22.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.4 APG - (13)
    16. Chauncey Billups (DET): 17.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 7.2 APG - (18)
    17. Tracy McGrady (HOU): 21.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG. 5.7 APG - (20)
    18. Amare Stoudemire (PHX): 23.7 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.2 APG - (15)
    19. Carmelo Anthony (DEN): 26.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 3.3 APG - (19)
    20. Manu Ginobili (SAN): 20.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.7 APG - (NR)
  • Dropped out: Brandon Roy, Blazers.

  • Running the Floor

    Yao
    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.