By Dennis Berry
The NBA regular season has come to a close and the playoffs are in full swing. It also means that it is awards time.
The biggest individual award is the Most Valuable Player. There are plenty of players who can make a case for this award. If we had a ballot, this is how we would vote.
Season stats: 22.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.1 spg
I know what you are thinking to yourself, he got his coach fired. They won six of seven games when he was not playing in January. That is all true.
The other truth is that right now the Knicks would not be in the playoffs without Anthony. He carried them to a 9-4 record when Amare Stoudemire was out from March into April. The Knicks also went 9-4 in April to lock up a playoff spot. During that time Anthony played his best basketball of the year, averaging 29.8 points a game and shooting 49% from the floor and 46% from three.
Season Stats: 18.3 ppg, 7.7 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.0 spg
How can you have an MVP list and not include the best player on the best team? Well the Spurs tied for the best record in the NBA with Chicago (50-16), but they are the best team in the NBA. Tony Parker was the best player for the Spurs this year.
His numbers are not flashy, solid numbers for your point guard. Yet he may be the most important player on the Spurs. He has been given full control of the offense. He dictates what style the Spurs will play. He can either push the ball and make it an up-tempo game or slow it down and make it a half-court game.
If not for the strong play of Parker, the Spurs would not been the top seed in the West for the second straight year.
Season Stats: 19.8 ppg, 9.1 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 spg
Chris Paul also gets the “where would they be without him” benefit. If you took Paul off of the Clippers, they are probably looking at another losing season and looking towards the NBA Draft.
That was almost the case after the Clippers lost Chauncey Billups to injury. The Clippers went 6-14 in their next 20 games after losing Billups. They followed it by going 13-2 over their next 15 games. Paul was key as he averaged 19.2 points and 10.4 assists a game.
Paul has become the leader of the Clippers. He knows where his teammates are at all times and creates shots for them from penetrating the defense.
Season Stats: 28.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.5 apg
For the third straight year Durant led the NBA in scoring at 28.0 points a game. It is the first time a player has done that since Michael Jordan.
Durant is the best young player in the league. It is hard to find a better offensive player in the NBA. He is great at driving the lane and finishing at the basket, is a great shooter, and is unselfish.
He also recognized what areas he needed to improve at – defense & passing – as a player and got better. Not only is a great scorer, but he is putting in the work to improve as a player.
He is everything you want your best player to be. Any other season Durant would win the MVP. He will surely get his share of first place votes.
Season Stats: 27.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.8 spg
Since the start of the season there has been one player that has stood out above the rest of the NBA. LeBron James is the most versatile player in the league, which allows him to affect every aspect of the game.
He is a great scorer and passer on offense. This year he took the fewest amount of three points shots (149) and played more in the post. This allowed him to shot a career high 53% from the floor and 36% from the three point line.
On defense James does not back down. His size and speed allows him to guard four positions on the floor. He can lock down almost anyone in the league.
He does whatever the Heat asks him to do. When he is focused and aggressive, there is no better player in the NBA today.
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