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Home / NBA / The Top Five 2012 NBA MVP Candidates

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The regular season is winding down in the NBA, and it is just about time to round-up the usual suspects in the MVP race, except we have a couple of new faces this year in the running. Our reigning champion, Derrick Rose, is probably somewhere with ice on his ankles, so he is out of contention, but the race is still exciting nonetheless.

Essentially, it is a three-horse race, but a couple of guys are having MVP-caliber seasons, and deserve recognition for doing such, so I have stretched the list to five.

Let’s get right to it. Here are your top five 2012 NBA MVP candidate:

5. Kevin Love- Minnesota Timberwolves

One of the writers at our MLB blog Reading Between the Seams, Arni Chambers, and I have an ongoing debate about Kevin Love, and since he’s not writing this to defend himself, allow me to give you a very biased one-sided rundown on the matter. Basically, Arni is a hater, think sK-Love is a useless scrub because he’s a power forward and shoots three’s. Apparently in Arni’s NBA, power forwards shouldn’t be allowed outside of the paint under any circumstances. In fact, I think he mentioned something like a shock collar to put on their necks in case they linger to the elbow or something.

However, his biggest gripe with Love is that he hasn’t translated into the T’Wolves winning, and therefore can’t be the best power forward in the league, and certainly not an MVP candidate. While I also normally function under that philosophy as well, people normally don’t average 26.5PPG (4th in the league) and 13.5 RPG (2nd in the league), and knocks down a couple three’s a game at a decent 37% from deep. What Kevin Love brings to the court on a nightly basis is unprecedented. Let me repeat: unprecedented. Nobody in the history of this league has dominated the boards every night like Love does, and has the ability to stretch the floor all the way to the three-point line.

Also, he does all this with Michael Beasley as the second best player on his team. If Rubio didn’t tear his ACL in March, this team would be right in the thick of the playoff hunt. The only team I would take over them with Rubio is probably Denver.

The best power forward in this league deserves some MVP consideration for his MVP caliber effort, and Arni is insane. That is all. Let’s move on.

4. Tony Parker- San Antonio Spurs

Stop me if you have heard this story before: Prior to the beginning of the season, everyone is running down their list of championship contenders. You are hearing all of the usual suspects, and then someone brings up the San Antonio Spurs. They are automatically dismissed because “they’re too old” and “their window has closed.” You fast forward to the end of the season, and somehow that old team with jail-barred windows is somehow in contention to win its conference.

This is where the story changes a bit from the past few years for the Spurs. Normally, the Spurs success can be directly linked to the health of Manu Ginobli, and Tim Duncan’s performance, but this year MVP for the always consistent Spurs has to be the sneaky Frenchmen Tony Parker. Parker has put this team on Brent Barry’s wife’s his back, and propelled them to a possible one-seed, even if Coach Pop treats him like he is 70-years old.

For what its worth, Parker is only 29, and is having his best season of his already successful career. We all know Parker’s knack for scoring, especially near the rim, but the difference for Parker this year has been his ability to facilitate for his teammates. The 19 PPG is no surprise for Parker, though it is nearly two points higher than his career average. The real number to look at is his 7.6APG, the highest of his career, which has been especially important with an obvious past-his-prime Tim Duncan, and an injury plagued Manu Ginobli (there’s a shocker.)

Watch out for these geriatric Spurs. With a steady prune juice diet, they may just have the strength to push that closed window open one more time, but that “old”guy Tony Parker will have to lead them there.

 3. Kevin Durant- Oklahoma City Thunder

This is probably where most of your jaws are going to drop because you’ve been listening to every talking head calling the MVP a two-horse race with KD being one of those stallions. Trust me, I want it to be…but it’s not.

Durant is by far my favorite NBA player that doesn’t play for my Nets. I love his attitude, his skill set, and just the way he plays the game in general. Plus, like any fan of a bad team, you must have a pseudo-team to root for in the playoffs so you don’t feel left out, and the Thunder are my pseudo-team. They wear my two favorite colors, and they are exciting to watch, but to put the MVP race between LeBron and Durant and leave out the other guy I will get to shortly is just irresponsible.

This isn’t necessarily an indictment on KD either. Being 3rd in the MVP race in your 4th year in the league isn’t exactly a bad thing, and he will end his career as a multiple MVP winner because he has youth on his side, especially if he only trends upwards statistically. Specifically, I like Durant the facilitator more than Durant the scorer because the Thunder just operate better that way. His 3.3 APG just isn’t enough, and I expect Durant to have somewhere around 5-6 APG in the prime of his career, with his scoring taking an ever so slight dip.

Most importantly, Durant needs to show us he can be a lock-down defender. We have seen it in spurts, but he needs to come night-in and night-out and shut people down like LeBron does. He has the body to be an exceptional defender, and he will get there. This year is just not his year to take home the MVP in my mind.

Sadly, I feel very similarly about my pseudo-teams championship chances as well…

 2. Kobe Bryant- Los Angeles Lakers

It is absolutely mind-blowing to me that Kobe is getting no love in the MVP race. I think he is getting a pass slightly because he has the whole “well, he’s won it before” thing going, which is the dumbest argument in any sport.

Before the season started, everyone wrote off the Lakers (including myself), and were talking about how this team needs a drastic change in the form of Dwight Howard and… *looks around for David Stern* Okay, coast is clear, Chris Paul.  Instead, the Black Mamba has just said “hey, all you under-achieving journeymen, whiny power forwards, and three-point shooting centers! Come with me, and I will show you the Kobe System.” That is exactly what he has done.

Sometimes I think we use the term “put the team on his back” far too much (even though I used it earlier for Parker, whatever.), but what Kobe has done this season is just as impressive when #8 Kobe was flying around for alley-oops with Shaq back in the day. In fact, its more impressive.

Kobe has a better all-around season than Durant has going, and is playing with a slightly inferior team. I have a simple question I would like for you to answer for me: Who was the fourth best Laker before the Ramon Sessions trade? Derek Fisher? Josh McRoberts? Metta World Peace? This is what Kobe has been dealing with since the Sessions trade, and he has the Lakers at 36-22 fighting for the Pacific Division.

You watch the Kobe-less Lakers against the Spurs tonight and tell me Kobe doesn’t deserve some serious MVP consideration.

1. LeBron James- Miami Heat

I don’t like it anymore than you do folks, but LeBron James has to be our NBA MVP this season. The only people who aren’t voting for him are KD/Kobe supporters, and LeBron haters, which at this point may be enough to swing the vote.

I keep hearing the case against LeBron being “He plays with D-Wade and Chris Bosh, blah blah blah blah blah” To me, that should be in support of his case. Do you know how difficult it must be to have great players like that around you and outplay them every night? If you don’t, see: Miami Heat 2010-2011 Season because this didn’t happen last year. Last year’s Heat were D-Wade’s team, and he out-shined LeBron more nights than not, but this year LeBron has taken over this team performance wise, and has consistently been the best player on the floor on a nightly basis.

Statistically, he has been a monster: 26.8PPG (3rd in the league), 8RPG, 6.4APG. Throw in 1.5 steals and a block, and you have one full stat sheet. Plus, as we discussed with KD earlier in the list, LeBron will make you look silly defensively. He is an absolute lock down defender, probably the best in the league.

All that said, in order for the Heat to win a championship, Miami will need to be D-Wade’s team.

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