Cohen: Chase for the MVP

By Josh Cohen
February 14, 2011

Throughout the course of the NBA season, I will provide an analysis for each player in the chase for the MVP.

1 Dwight Howard’s soaring statistics (22.6 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks) could be one reason why the five-time NBA All-Star deserves the No. 1 ranking, but it’s possible that his vivacity to often play more than 40 minutes since December’s blockbuster trades and his recently improved decision making could also be justifiable grounds.
2 Prior to the season, Derrick Rose was generally considered “among” the elite point guards in the NBA. After a dazzling first half of the campaign, however, some observers have elevated his status from one of the best to “the best” at his position. The two-time All-Star recently dominated one of his main competitors, Deron Williams.
3 Most NBA enthusiasts assumed that the only way LeBron James could ultimately capture a third consecutive MVP award was if he averaged a triple-double for the season. Although he will likely fall two or three assists and rebounds short of that accomplishment, James has still managed to showcase floor leadership in spite of playing alongside two other All-Stars.
4 Year after year, you can’t help but wonder if there will be any decline in Kobe Bryant’s play. But I think what we have learned is that Kobe is, by and large, one of the fiercest, most dynamic competitors the game has ever seen. It’s possible that as long as he is playing, Bryant will remain an MVP candidate – just like Michael Jordan was during his days.
5 Very few will argue against the notion that Kevin Durant is the most wide-ranging scorer in the league. Aside from the fact that his scoring average is No. 1 in the NBA, Durant always finds a way to post big scoring numbers even when he is struggling shooting the ball.
6 If you told me a few seasons ago when the Celtics first united Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen with Paul Pierce that a different player on than the Big Three in Boston would be considered a more valuable player, I would have recommended you start taking interest in a different sport. But Rajon Rondo has managed to defy the odds and become the key to the ignition that makes the Celtics go.
7 There is something very mysterious about the perception NBA spectators have of Dirk Nowitzki. Back in 2006 when he guided the Mavericks to the NBA Finals and the subsequent season when Dallas won an astounding 67 games and Dirk was named the MVP, Nowitzki was, by and large, thought of as a championship-bound superstar. But ever since the Warriors in the First Round of the 2007 playoffs stunned the Mavs, Dirk tends to be viewed as a phenomenal player that just simply can’t win big games. Until he proves he can, it will be difficult for the 10-time All-Star to win another MVP award.
8 Sometimes Dwyane Wade doesn’t get the recognition he deserves because of the presence of LeBron James. While I am sure he figured that would come with the territory after deciding to unite together this past summer, Wade is just as big of a reason why the Heat have generally played up to their potential.
9 This will be the first time in a while where the team with the best record doesn’t really have a contender for the MVP award. The Spurs win because of their balance and execution. Perhaps it may be fair to suggest that Gregg Popovich deserves to be in the running for the MVP award, but since that is not permitted, Manu Ginobili earns the consideration.
10 It seems like every other day we have the argument about who deserves to make the top five point guard list in the NBA. Prior to the season, Russell Westbrook would have been lucky to crack anyone’s top 10. Now, after a splendid first half of the season, Westbrook is probably in most people’s top five.

Who do you think is the MVP right now?
Who do you think is the MVP right now?
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