March 11, 2008 -- I donít know about you, but Iím getting a little bit tired of debating the greatness of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James on a daily basis.
Sure, the first 50 or so times I wrote about the two best players in the world knocking heads for the biggest individual prize in the game was exciting, but now, just like supersizing value meals at McDonald's and watching reruns of Seinfeld, it is time to move on.
Paul Heíll win the MVP if: Kobe and LeBron falter down the stretch. From all reports, he is a good guy both on and off the court, his team is enjoying a super season and his stats are off the charts.
Howard Heíll win the MVP if: people start paying closer attention to him and less attention to the other lead candidates. Despite his monster year, the red-hot buzz he had in the first half of the season has cooled off lately. Personally, I've been riding Superman's cape all season and he hasn't given me a reason to stop now.
Garnett Heíll win the MVP if: voters reward the best player on the best team, the person who turned a franchise around and put the ďDĒ in defense for the Celtics.
Duncan Heíll win the MVP if: voters decide to reward him for a decade of excellence. He has led the Spurs to the top mark in the West, but depending on who you talk to, some people feel Manu Ginobili has taken over the role as top dog.
McGrady Heíll win the MVP if: the Rockets win their remaining 19 games to end the season on an all-time best 38-game winning streak. OK, the chances of that happening arenít likely, but McGrady is going to get a vote or two for having Houston in position to challenge for the top spot in the West. He has to overcome the fact that he has missed 15 games this season and was playing second fiddle to Yao for most of the year.
Last Week's Rank - 2
The MVP race between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James is comparable to my two all-time favorite television shows. Just like The Sopranos, Bryant may end up collecting the big postseason award, even though The Wire and James produce a better product than their more popular counterparts.
Last Week's Rank - 3
In most other seasons, the way Paul has resurrected the city of New Orleans with his play would be good enough to get him the MVP award. This year, just like his nickname, he will be CP3 or third.
Last Week's Rank - 4
I'm still trying to figure out why all of the bloggers, writers in the forums and some media members have stopped including Howard on the short list of serious MVP candidates. He is still in the top five in the NBA in rebounds, shooting and blocks for a team that is in first place.
Last Week's Rank - 5
After winning 11 games in a row, the Spurs dropped two straight. Locked in a tight race with the Lakers for the top spot in the West, was it time to panic? Not when you have Timmy, who erupted for 23 points, 18 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in a win over the Nuggets on Monday.
Last Week's Rank - 14
McGrady has a lot of ground to make up in the race, but leading his team on a 19-game winning streak, shouldering the load in the absence of a fellow superstar and performing at an All-Star level are a good place to start.
Last Week's Rank - 6
The Celtics, who have strung together nine victories in a row, have reached the 50-win mark for the first time in 16 years. Is there anyone happier than Pierce, who a year ago was the leader of a squad heading nowhere?
Last Week's Rank - 9
The Suns have been struggling lately, but don't blame Nash who has 42 assists in the past three games. On Sunday, he torched the Spurs' Tony Parker for 19 points, 14 dimes and five rebounds.
On the Outside Looking In (averages - last week's rank)
The other day in a meeting, someone asked, "Who was the oldest player to be named MVP?" Being that he has won the award six times and looked like he was up there in age in all of those 1980 highlight clips, I blurted out Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As it turns out, the former Lakers' great is actually fifth on the list.
Karl Malone: 35 years, 10 months (1999) Michael Jordan: 35 years, 3 months (1998) Karl Malone: 33 years, 10 months (1997) Michael Jordan: 33 years, 3 months (1996) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 33 years, 1 month (1980)
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 Week 18: Kobe Bryant, Lakers Week 19: Kobe Bryant, Lakers