There have been a lot of great players this season and a few that have a good chance of bring home the MVP Award. Because of the lockout, this has been unlike any other season which has led to a chaotic shortened NBA season. Below are my top 5 2011-2012 NBA MVP choices.
5. Russell Westbrook: I know Westbrook has one of the top 5 players on his team (Durant), along with other great role players on his roster, however, because Russell’s had such a great year that I feel he has to be apart of this list. Westbrook has been loading up the stat sheet by averaging 24.2 points, 5.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds per game, and shooting 40% from the field (and 32.8% from three). The progression in Westbrook’s game has shown up as he’s improved in each of his first four season with him averaging a career high in a few categories while making sure others in their lineup are still able to get their shots. With the improvements made in Westbrook’s game, its created one of the top duo’s in the NBA with him and Kevin Durant.
4. Tony Parker: What a year by the former NBA Finals MVP (2007) as he’s become the leader of the team with the third best record in the NBA (only behind Chicago and Oklahoma City). Parker has averaged 15.7 points on the season to go along with 18.7 points along and 7.7 assists while shooting 47.3% from the field. As good as the other players on the Spurs have been this year, its been Parker that’s been stepping up and setting up everything for the Spurs as when he’s out there, the Spurs offense runs at a better pace. Parker’s also had a great +/- this year (+285, which is 4th among all point guards) meaning that when’s he’s on the court the Spurs have outscored their opponents by 285 points.
3. Kobe Bryant: After the Lakers trade/no trade of Chris Paul and the eventual trade of Lamar Odom, the Lakers were seen as a team that’s supposed to be a team in transition. Kobe’s leading the league in scoring (28.1),while averaging 5.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. As good as their big men have been this year (Bynum’s averaging 18.4 points/12.2 rebounds and Gasol’s averaging 17.4 points/10.5 rebounds) Kobe’s still the reason why the Lakers have had such a great season. Earlier this year, Bryant shot 3 of 20 from the floor yet was able to hit a key shot down the stretch that allowed the Lakers to win the game. Only a few NBA players could be shooting 2-19 from the field and still have the courage to take and make the game winning shot.
2. LeBron James: Whether you’re a fan of LeBron James or not, he’s been one of the top 5 players in the NBA all season long. During the 2012 season, James he’s averaged 27 points, 6.4 assists, 7.9 rebounds, and has the best +/- in the NBA (+399) while still shooting 36.6% from beyond the arch. As good as LeBron’s been this year, I still don’t feel he’s the league MVP for a few reasons. For one, it seems that every last second shot is taken by his teammate (Dwyane Wade) and 3 of the other 4 members on this list would be the “go-to” player in the final seconds of a game. If LeBron was better in the final few minutes of a game, then I might make LeBron the league MVP, but because he doesn’t take the final shot and has struggled in many final shot opportunities, I feel he should be the runner-up for the MVP Award.
1. Kevin Durant: The back-to-back regular season scoring champion has been fantastic this year and I now feel its time for him to be rewarded with the MVP Award. Durant has averaged 27.5 points per game, 7.90 rebounds, 3.5 assists (as a small forward and having a great point guard already on his roster), and is shooting almost 38% from 3 and 50% from the floor. Durant, (whose played in every game this year) has been a great leader for the 7th youngest team in the NBA (25.8) and has hit all the big shots throughout the season. If the Thunder finish with the best record in the West and the Heat don’t finish with the best record in the East (as the two teams split their head-to-head matchups), then I feel KD should be named the league MVP.
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