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| May 2, 2010

nba mvp race, nba mvp watchLeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2009-10 NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today.

UPDATED NBA MVP RANKINGS COMING NOVEMBER 25, 2012

James, who also earned the honor last season, totaled 1,205 points including 116 first place votes, from a panel of 122 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada and the first ever NBA MVP fan vote. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.

Rounding out the top five in voting for this season’s award are Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (609 points), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (599 points), Orlando’s Dwight Howard (478) and Miami’s Dwyane Wade (119).

For the first time, the NBA gave fans the opportunity to help determine the winner of the MVP award. Fans were able to submit their votes by ranking their top five choices through a dedicated Web page on NBA.com. The fan vote counted as one vote and was compiled with the 122 media votes to determine the winner.

James, the only Cavalier to ever win the award, was second in the NBA in scoring (29.7 ppg) and averaged 8.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 block, leading Cleveland to an NBA-best 61-21 regular season record. James’ 8.6 assists broke the record for highest assist per game average by a forward in NBA history (Larry Bird, 7.6 apg, 1986-87). The 6’8” forward led the league in scoring on the road (31.0 ppg), helping Cleveland tie the NBA’s second-best road record at 26-15 (Boston).

In the 76 regular season games he played this year, James amassed 2,258 points, 651 assists and 554 rebounds, becoming just the third player (seventh time) to have more than 2,250 points, 650 assists and 550 rebounds in a season (Oscar Robertson, five times, 1961-66; Michael Jordan, 1988-89). He scored at least 20 points in the second half of 19 games (most in NBA) and recorded a league-leading 27 games with 10 or more points in the fourth quarter.

In his seventh season, James was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month four consecutive times (Nov.-Feb.), the second consecutive season he won the award on four occasions. James was also named Eastern Conference Player of the Week six times (Nov. 23; Dec. 28; Jan 11, 25; Feb. 8; March 1).

The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963.

Voting results for the 2009-10 NBA Most Valuable Player Award:

2009-10 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD VOTING RESULTS

Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total Points
LeBron James, Cleveland 116 5 2 - -, total 1,205
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City 4 46 31 29 5, total 609
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers - 43 44 23 9, total 599
Dwight Howard, Orlando 3 27 30 29 22, total 478
Dwyane Wade, Miami - 1 6 19 25, total 119
Carmelo Anthony, Denver - 1 3 8 19, total 65
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas - - 3 7 19, total 55
Steve Nash, Phoenix - - 3 6 16, total 49
Deron Williams, Utah - - 1 - 2, total 7
Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix - - - 1 2, total 5
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio - - - 1 -, total 3
Chris Bosh, Toronto - - - - 1, total 1
Joe Johnson, Atlanta - - - - 1, total 1
Stephen Jackson, Charlotte - - - - 1, total 1
Chauncey Billups, Denver - - - - 1, total 1

ALL-TIME MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD WINNERS

Season - Player, Team
1955-56 - Bob Pettit, St. Louis
1956-57 - Bob Cousy, Boston
1957-58 - Bill Russell, Boston
1958-59 - Bob Pettit, St. Louis
1959-60 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1960-61 - Bill Russell, Boston
1961-62 - Bill Russell, Boston
1962-63 - Bill Russell, Boston
1963-64 - Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati
1964-65 - Bill Russell, Boston
1965-66 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1966-67 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1967-68 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1968-69 - Wes Unseld, Baltimore
1969-70 - Willis Reed, New York
1970-71 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1971-72 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1972-73 - Dave Cowens, Boston
1973-74 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1974-75 - Bob McAdoo, Buffalo
1975-76 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles
1976-77 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles
1977-78 - Bill Walton, Portland
1978-79 - Moses Malone, Houston
1979-80 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles
1980-81 - Julius Erving, Philadelphia
1981-82 - Moses Malone, Houston
1982-83 - Moses Malone, Philadelphia
1983-84 - Larry Bird, Boston
1984-85 - Larry Bird, Boston
1985-86 - Larry Bird, Boston
1986-87 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers
1987-88 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1988-89 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers
1989-90 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers
1990-91 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1991-92 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1992-93 - Charles Barkley, Phoenix
1993-94 - Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1994-95 - David Robinson, San Antonio
1995-96 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1996-97 - Karl Malone, Utah
1997-98 - Michael Jordan, Chicago
1998-99 - Karl Malone, Utah
1999-00 - Shaquille O'Neal, L.A. Lakers
2000-01 - Allen Iverson, Philadelphia
2001-02 - Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2002-03 - Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2003-04 - Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
2004-05 - Steve Nash, Phoenix
2005-06 - Steve Nash, Phoenix
2006-07 - Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
2007-08 - Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
2008-09 – LeBron James, Cleveland
2009-10 – LeBron James, Cleveland





NBA MVP WATCH FROM FEBRUARY 7, 2010

HERE'S THE NBA MVP WATCH OF DAVID ALDRIDGE (NBA.COM)
February 7, 2010

1) LeBron James (35 ppg, 7 rpg, 10.3 apg, .541 FG, .886 FT): He's running away with the award at the moment, leading Cleveland to 11 consecutive victories and full control of the Eastern Conference. He's doing it without the injured Mo Williams and Delonte West. He's scoring when he needs to score; passing when passing is called for, blocking potential game-winning shots and leading in every way possible.

2) Kobe Bryant (27.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3 apg, .468 FG, .652 FT): Broke consecutive games played streak at 235 by missing Saturday's game at Portland. Will Kobe play in the All-Star Game or rest himself for the stretch drive?

3) Dirk Nowitzki (23 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.3 apg, .545 FG, .913 FT): Nowtizki is saying he's not having much fun this season, despite Dallas' solid record, and it's now that you have to mention that Dirk could be a free agent after this season. No one expects he'll do anything but stay a Maverick for life, but he does have some leverage, and it shouldn't be taken for granted.

4) Kevin Durant (30.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3 apg, .441 FG, .946 FT): The Oklahoma Kid is as good a gunslinger as there is in the West, leading the Thunder into the middle of the Western Conference playoff chase. He doesn't seem to force much (despite everyone loading up their defenses against him, he shoots 49 percent from the floor) and his young teammates seem to enjoy his success without worrying about their own.

5) Chauncey Billups (24.3 ppg, 2 rpg, 7 apg, .390 FG, .824 FT): Mr. Big Shot makes his MVP debut after going for a career-high 39 in Los Angeles on Friday, but not just for that. Billups has never played better or been more of a leader as he has this season for Denver, which is trying to somehow catch the Lakers for the best record in the west.

----------


2009 NBA MVP WATCH
May 4, 2009

As expected, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2008-09 NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today.

James totaled 1,172 points including 109 first place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.

Rounding out the top five in voting for this season’s award are the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (698 points), Miami’s Dwyane Wade (680), Orlando’s Dwight Howard (328) and New Orleans’ Chris Paul (192).

James, the first Cavalier to win the award, led Cleveland in scoring (28.4 ppg, second in the NBA), rebounds (7.6 rpg), assists (7.2 apg, fourth), and steals (1.7 spg, eighth). Since the 1973-74 season when steals became an official stat, James is the fourth player to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, while also leading his team to 50-plus wins (Larry Bird 1985-86; Grant Hill, 1996-97; Kevin Garnett, 2002-03). The 6-8 forward helped Cleveland to an NBA- and franchise-best 66-16 season, a 21-game improvement over last season (45-37), marking the 12th time an NBA team has reached 66 wins in a season.

James led the league in triple-doubles (seven) and became the 12th player in NBA history to record three-consecutive triple-doubles (March 7, 10, 12). In his sixth season, James became the ninth player in NBA history to have at least five consecutive 2,000 point seasons.

Since the NBA began voting on the Eastern and Western Conference Player of the Month separately in 2001-02, James is just the second player to receive the award four times in one season (Kevin Garnett, 2003-04). James was voted the Eastern Conference Player of the Month in November, January, March and April. James was also named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week seven times (Nov. 10, 17; Dec. 29; Jan. 26; Feb. 9; March 16, 23).

The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963.

NBA MVP VOTING RESULTS

Player, 		Team 		1st 2nd  3rd 4th  5th  Total Points

LeBron James, 		Cleveland 	109 11 1  -  -      	1172

Kobe Bryant, 		L.A. Lakers 	2 56 52  8  2      	698

Dwyane Wade, 		Miami 		7 50 41  17  4      	680

Dwight Howard, 		Orlando 	1 3 17  63  23      	328

Chris Paul, 		New Orleans 	2 1 9  23  51      	192

Chauncey Billups, 	Denver 		- - -  6  15      	33

Paul Pierce, 		Boston 		- - 	1  2  10      	21

Tony Parker, 		San Antonio 	- - -  1  6      	9

Brandon Roy, 		Portland 	- - -  1  4      	7

Dirk Nowitzki, 		Dallas 		- - -  -  3      	3

Tim Duncan, 		San Antonio 	- - -  -  2      	2

Yao Ming, 		Houston 	- - -  -  1      	1 

ALL-TIME MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD WINNERS HISTORY
Season  - Player, Team

1955-56 - Bob Pettit, St. Louis 
1956-57 - Bob Cousy, Boston 
1957-58 - Bill Russell, Boston 
1958-59 - Bob Pettit, St. Louis 
1959-60 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 
1960-61 - Bill Russell, Boston 
1961-62 - Bill Russell, Boston 
1962-63 - Bill Russell, Boston 
1963-64 - Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati 
1964-65 - Bill Russell, Boston 
1965-66 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 
1966-67 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 
1967-68 - Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 
1968-69 - Wes Unseld, Baltimore 
1969-70 - Willis Reed, New York 
1970-71 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee 
1971-72 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee 
1972-73 - Dave Cowens, Boston 
1973-74 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee 
1974-75 - Bob McAdoo, Buffalo 
1975-76 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles 
1976-77 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles 
1977-78 - Bill Walton, Portland 
1978-79 - Moses Malone, Houston
1979-80 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles
1980-81 - Julius Erving, Philadelphia
1981-82 - Moses Malone, Houston 
1982-83 - Moses Malone, Philadelphia 
1983-84 - Larry Bird, Boston 
1984-85 - Larry Bird, Boston 
1985-86 - Larry Bird, Boston 
1986-87 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers 
1987-88 - Michael Jordan, Chicago 
1988-89 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers 
1989-90 - Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers 
1990-91 - Michael Jordan, Chicago 
1991-92 - Michael Jordan, Chicago 
1992-93 - Charles Barkley, Phoenix 
1993-94 - Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston 
1994-95 - David Robinson, San Antonio 
1995-96 - Michael Jordan, Chicago 
1996-97 - Karl Malone, Utah 
1997-98 - Michael Jordan, Chicago 
1998-99 - Karl Malone, Utah 
1999-00 - Shaquille O'Neal, L.A. Lakers 
2000-01 - Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 
2001-02 - Tim Duncan, San Antonio 
2002-03 - Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2003-04 - Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
2004-05 - Steve Nash, Phoenix
2005-06 - Steve Nash, Phoenix
2006-07 - Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
2007-08 - Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
2008-09 – LeBron James, Cleveland 




----------------------------------------------


For almost 10 years, the InsideHoops.com NBA MVP Watch has monitored the top candidates for the league's Most Valuable Player award. The NBA MVP award, which is only for the regular season and does not include any post-season action, often goes down to the final week. We'll update again in around two weeks.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 1) LeBron James, SF, Cleveland
Stats: 28.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 7.0 apg, 1.9 spg, 1.29 bpg
Comments: Completely dominating the league offensively, and playing better defense than ever. His stats are beyond video game level; they're out of a fairy tale. And the Cavs have been one of the league's best teams, allowing us to call LeBron a legit candidate.

2) Kobe Bryant, SG, L.A. Lakers Stats: 27.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.27 spg
Comments: Last season's NBA MVP, Kobe Bryant's Lakers have been fantastic, and he's still on top of his game. Although we're currently listing LeBron first and Kobe second, these two basketball superstars can swap places on this list easily and no one (aside from fans of these players) would complain.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 3) Dwight Howard, C, Orlando
Stats: 20.4 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.94 bpg
Comments: We don't really like listing Howard this high, because he's not a complete basketball player like the other guys near him on this list. That said, you don't have to be good at everything in order to be effective. Offensively, Howard is mostly a dunker who is still refining his basketball skills, but his strength, size, power and big-man skills are an awesome and effective combination. And he's a good enough passer to keep the inside-outside offense working.

4) Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami
Stats: 28.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 7.2 apg, 2.10 spg, 1.45 bpg
Comments: On an individual level, D-Wade is playing on the same incredible level that LeBron and Kobe are. Give or take. But his team is just a few games above .500, and therefore it's hard to move him any higher than this. If the NBA MVP award was a "most outstanding player" award, Wade would probably be in a three-way tie with those other two.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 5) Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio
Stats: 20.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.83 bpg
Comments: Yeah, Duncan is old news. And the Spurs aren't as on your mind as they should be. But he's still as effective a player as almost anyone in the league.

6) Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans
Stats: 21.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 10.9 apg, 2.78 spg
Comments: The most talented young point guard in the league (with Deron Williams a close second), CP3 is having another superstar season. His Hornets aren't that hot just yet, but we expect them to pick things up soon.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 7) Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce, PF/SF, Boston
Stats: 16.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.18 spg, 1.29 bpg
Comments: Those are KG's stats. And they aren't that high, but his effectiveness is. But in the same breath, Paul Pierce deserves more or less just as much credit as KG does. Ray Allen is having a very good season, too. The Celtics really do it as a team. But KG is still their top dog, even if only by a little. So next update we'll probably separate them. As for Pierce, he shouldn't sweat this stuff. Just keep on winning.

NBA MVP WATCH HONORABLE MENTIONS

Chauncey Billups (Nuggets) has changed Denver into an extremely good team. If they keep it up, we'll have to slide him into this discussion.

Brandon Roy (Trail Blazers) is a star, but his team is merely very good, not quite great, and as terrific as he is, he's not on that LeBron, Kobe or Wade level just yet.


---------------------------------------------------------------------


OLDER, START OF SEASON NBA MVP RANKINGS
From Nov. 28, 2009

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 1) LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers Comments: King James had an incredible season in 2007-08 but his team's unimpressive record made it impossible for InsideHoops.com to call him the league's Most Valuable Player. But at 12-3 the Cavs have the third best winning percentage in the entire league, and with 27.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.87 steals on 48.7% shooting LeBron has our support right now. He's bricking three-pointers this year and still improving his defense, but as long as his team is even remotely close to the top of the league standings he may remain our top candidate for the award.

2) Kobe Bryant, SG, L.A. Lakers Comments: Last season's NBA MVP, Kobe Bryant's Lakers have a league-best 12-1 record. Although Bryant is averaging an "easy" 23.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.77 steals per game on pretty average shooting and a mere 30.6% from three-point range, he's the glue of this team and a top contender for the award.

3) Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat Comments: Remember how everyone kept writing D-Wade off, and he kept telling the media how silly that was, and that he was hurt, is now healthy, and will be the same Wade that dominated in the past? He was right. Putting up an awesome 27.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.7 blocks on 48.2% shooting, Wade is totally destroying everyone who tries to guard him. He's bricking threes, but we can't all be perfect. If the Heat can bump that win total up and ever get into championship contender conversations, Wade will fly up the InsideHoops.com NBA MVP Watch, possibly as high as #2 or #3.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 4) Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce, PF/SF, Boston Celtics Comments: Although he's merely putting up 16.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.13 steals and 1.33 blocks per game while playing top-notch defense, KG isn't scoring or rebounding as much as expected but still gets more credit than anyone for Celtics success. Very loud honorable mention goes to small forward Paul Pierce, who is extremely close to being as valuable and important as Garnett.

5) Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets Comments: At 9-5 the Hornets aren't quite as hot as expected to start the season, but that's OK. They're on a bit of a roll now. Check their record in a few weeks. As for Chris Paul, he's doing his thing with 20.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 12.0 assists and 2.93 steals on awesome 52.4% shooting and impressive 40.0% threes.

6) Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic Comments: Putting up 21.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 3.88 blocks on ridiculous 58.8% shooting (mostly dunks), Howard is an amazing athlete, though he still doesn't impress InsideHoops.com with his actual moves and basketball ability aside from running, jumping and dunking. We love Dwight, though. He's an awesome, dominating big-man who improves each year and will continue to do so.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 7) Chris Bosh, PF, Toronto Raptors Comments: The Raptors have a modest 7-7 record so far this season, but their star of stars is shining brighter than ever this season. Chris Bosh has kept improving in his NBA career and became a star a while back, but he's turned things up in a big way, averaging 27.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.9 blocks on 55.6% shooting. If his team can ever rise to his level, Bosh will rise in the rankings.

8) Amare Stoudemire, PF, Phoenix Suns Comments: Amare has been the best Suns player this season. With Steve Nash producing less than expected this season and Shawn Marion gone to Miami, Stoudemire's 22.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.19 steals and 1.38 blocks on 56.8% shooting is very impressive. At 11-5 the Suns are off to a very nice start.

9) Carlos Boozer, PF, Utah Jazz Comments: Although he's been out for a few games now, Boozer, averaging 20.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists on 55.9% shooting has been the heart and soul of the Jazz, especially with Deron Williams having missed almost all of the season due to injury (he's played 3 games and just returned a day ago). Utah's 10-6 record is actually pretty good considering the amount of games due to injury various key players have missed. Boozer's been big, even if he barely blocks more shots than InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner does.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 10) Joe Johnson, SG, Atlanta Hawks Comments: The Hawks are doing better than expected in 2008-09 and with a 9-5 record have overachieved, especially with Josh Smith missing weeks of games due to injury. Although it's been an impressive, balanced, total team effort in Atlanta, their clear leader is Joe Johnson, who so far has put up 23.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.5 steals while playing good defense and playing a shade under 39 minutes per game.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Brandon Roy, SG, Portland Trail Blazers Comments: Although they haven't taken off this season the way many hoped they could, the Trail Blazers have been a very good team, and Brandon Roy is the main reason why. Putting up 20.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.13 steals on pretty decent shooting, the Portland shooting guard will keep getting better this season as he and his various new teammates (and not just Greg Oden but their various rookies plus Martell Webster once he finally returns from injury as well) keep adjusting to each other.

OTHER PLAYERS WITH MVP POTENTIAL:

Deron Williams (Jazz) could be on this list once he stays healthy and really gets his season going. Tim Duncan (Spurs) will be mentioned above as soon as his team starts winning more. It's hard to name anyone on the Pistons with a real shot at MVP. Yao Ming (Rockets) has MVP potential but he isn't dominating. Tracy McGrady has been playing hurt and it shows. Chauncey Billups (Nuggets) is impressive us the way he's making teammates better and he could enter the discussion. And Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks) absolutely doesn't deserve to be mentioned last, because he's still one of the league's best forwards. As soon as Dallas starts playing better he'll enter the discussion.



-------------------------------------------------


PRESEASON NBA MVP WATCH | OCT. 2, 2008

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 1) Kobe Bryant, SG, L.A. Lakers Comments: Last season's NBA MVP, Kobe Bryant's Lakers should again be a terrific team. He'll be a top candidate for MVP again this upcoming year.

2) Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce, PF/SF, Boston Celtics Comments: KG and Paul Pierce are the two best players on the league's champions. They both deserve mention, so we'll include them together here. Once the 2008-09 season is underway, if they deserve to both be listed, they'll be separated, as we try to do with other teams with multiple players worthy of being mentioned.

3) Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets Comments: Chris Paul last season went from a very good future point guard to a great one and legit top MVP candidate. The Hornets possibly overachieved a bit in the regular season so they could drop off slightly, but chances are they'll do just as good, which will keep CP3 in NBA MVP conversations.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 4) LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers Comments: King James had an absurdly awesome individual season in 2007-08 and he'll probably do it again this year, but it's almost impossible to feel compelled to give the league's MVP award to a player whose team only wins around half their games. It isn't LeBron's fault, but that's how it goes. If the award was NBA "Most Outstanding Player" LeBron would be #1 on our list, with Bryant #2.

5) Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio Spurs Comments: He's still Tim Duncan. He's not old yet. The Spurs are still a title contender. And Duncan makes an impact on both sides of the floor like few others in the league.

6) Tracy McGrady/Yao Ming, SG/C, Houston Rockets Comments: The Rockets went insane for a stretch last season, winning 22 games in a row, and they will be very good and sometimes great in 2008-09. As with other teammates on InsideHoops.com ranking lists, we'll separate them and list both, if deserving, once the season progresses.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 7) Steve Nash/Amare Stoudemire, PG/PF, Phoenix Suns Comments: Former MVP Steve Nash will be in discussion for the award again if Phoenix can rise, but they'll probably remain a bit below the level it'll take for him to get real consideration. Same with Stoudemire, though Amare put up insane stats once Shaq came around and should do so again, even as O'Neal continues to show his age.

8) Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic Comments: Howard is a strong, leaping, dunking, rebounding machine, but not quite an all-world basketball talent just yet. He's still refining his skills. The Magic are a very good team, but something special will have to happen for Howard to be considered a legit MVP candidate. He'll keep improving.

9) Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks Comments: The former league MVP famous for getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the whirlwind Golden State Warriors, Dirk could be in the discussion, but for him to truly be considered the Mavericks will have to reverse directions and get better. They're still very good and should sometimes be great but Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and other teammates will have to really step up beyond what's expected to give Dirk a shot.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 10) Deron Williams/Carlos Boozer, PG/PF, Utah Jazz Comments: Along with Chris Paul (yes, it's fun to keep mentioning them together), D-Will is one of the league's new young elite point guards. Carlos Boozer is a star but not an MVP-type player just yet. But the Jazz are terrific and if they get even better next season one of these two guys, likely both, will get the credit.

NBA MVP HONORABLE MENTIONS FOR 2008-09

The Trail Blazers have the potential to do big things this season, and if they do Brandon Roy will be in NBA MVP discussions... The 76ers were OK last season, and the only major change is the addition of Elton Brand. Philly should be pretty good, but if they turn out to be very good, or anything even close to great, Brand will likely get more credit than Andre Miller or Andre Iguodala... The Heat last season were awful beyond words. But it looks like Dwyane Wade could return to former glory. Plus, Shawn Marion needs a new contract soon, and rookie stud Michael Beasley is on board. If Miami flies up the standings, former NBA Finals MVP Wade will get regular season award consideration.






THE INSIDEHOOPS.COM 2007-08 NBA MVP WATCH AS OF APRIL 6, 2008

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 1-tie) Kobe Bryant, SG, L.A. Lakers (52-24) Stats: 28.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.9 spg, 46.0% FG ... Comments: Kobe deserves an MVP, since he hasn't won one yet. And, he's clearly in the top one or two candidates this season. And his Lakers have overachieved despite a mid-season trade which shook chemistry, and injuries to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynym barely slowed them.

1-tie) Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets (54-22) Stats: 21.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 11.5 apg, 2.7 spg, 49.2% FG ... Comments: CP3 dictates the entire Hornets offense and it's a beautiful thing to watch. If they win the West, CP3 has to win MVP. If they come close -- and they will -- CP3 possibly still deserves it. InsideHoops declares CP3 and Kobe are tied right now, and it's going down to the wire.

3) Kevin Garnett, PF, Boston Celtics (61-15) Stats: 18.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.3 b pg ... Comments: KG contributes across the board, and his defense is key. But many who watch the Celtics closely tell InsideHoops.com that Paul Pierce is just as deserving.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 4) LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers (42-35) Stats: 30.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.9 spg, 1.1 bpg, 48.1% FG ... Comments: Absolutely incredible season from the one of the league's top two or three offensive talents. But the Cavs have just the 13th best winning percentage in the league, making it impossible for us to give James the award. At best he deserves to be #3, above KG, but there's no way can we list him above CP3 or Kobe.

5) Tim Duncan, PF, San Antonio Spurs (52-24) Stats: 19.8 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.9 bpg, 50.9% FG ... Comments: You forgot about Duncan. Everybody brushes him off when discussing this award. But he could easily be #1 or close to #1 every season. If you don't know why, watch him each time the Spurs play defense, and watch how they use him to create on offense.

6) Tracy McGrady, SG, Houston Rockets (51-25) Stats: 22.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.7 apg, 1.1 spg, 42.6% FG ... Comments: The Rockets went insane, winning 22 games in a row, and Yao Ming getting hurt affected nothing, because of total team play but also because T-Mac, who has had a terrific season, took things to a while other level.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 7) Amare Stoudemire, PF, Phoenix Suns (51-26) Stats: 25.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.4 apg, 2.2 bpg, 58.8% FG ... Comments: Amare's been terrific this season, and since Shaq arrived in Phoenix he's gotten even better.

8) Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic (48-28) Stats: 20.9 ppg, 14.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.2 bpg, 59.5% FG ... Comments: Howard's domination around the rim and on the board, plus his shot-blocking and general existence, deserves attention. And it must be said that Hedo Turkoglu deserves praise for his fantastic season as well.

9) Paul Pierce, SF, Boston Celtics (61-15) Stats: 19.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.3 spg, 46.0% FG ... Comments: I already gave props to Pierce above in KG's comments, but it has to be said that Pierce really raised his game this season, especially on the defensive end.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch Last season's MVP Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks, 23.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.6 apg) probably deserves to be somewhere between #6 and #9 on this list above, but his team wasn't quite as good this season, and that hurts his MVP ranking a bit... Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns, 17.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 11.2 apg) is still fantastic... Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons, 17.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 7.0 apg) is terrific and the only reason he isn't listed above is because three other Pistons starters contribute almost as heavily... Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz, 21.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.8 apg) is awesome, and teammate Deron Williams (Jazz, 19.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 10.5 apg) is now a fairly elite point guard... Allen Iverson (Denver Nuggets), Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets) and Baron Davis (Golden State Warriors) also deserve reconigition for excellence this year.








NBA MVP WATCH FROM PRESEASON: OCT. 22, 2007

Stats are from the 2006-07 regular season.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 1) Tim Duncan, Spurs
Vitals: PF, 6-11, 260
Stats: 20.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, 2.4 bpg, .546 FG%
Comments: It's tough for Duncan to win the MVP award because his stats aren't as dominant as a few other top players on title contenders. Though, Duncan's superior defensive play deserves to be factored in. Maybe it happens this year.

2) LeBron James, Cavaliers
Vitals: SF, 6-8, 240
Stats: 27.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.6 spg, .476 FG%
Comments: After carrying the Cavs to the NBA Finals, where Cleveland got smoked by the superior Spurs, this could be the year King James establishes his dominance in even more dramatic fashion. Limiting LeBron's MVP chances is the fact that the award usually goes to the best player on one of the top two or three teams, and the Cavs probably won't be quite that good.

3) Kevin Garnett, Celtics
Vitals: PF, 6-11, 220
Stats: 22.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.2 spg, 1.7 bpg
Comments: KG played on an MVP level even when the Timberwolves were a lottery team. But he'll get real consideration now that he's on the Celtics, who on paper have the potential to compile a pretty nice record.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 4) Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
Vitals: PF, 7-0, 245
Stats: 24.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 3.4 apg, 0.8 bpg, 50.2% FG
Comments: Last season's MVP, Nowitzki and the Mavericks got upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Golden State Warriors. Although the MVP is for the regular season and not the playoffs, the early exit will make it slightly harder for Dirk to win the award again.

5) Steve Nash, Suns
Vitals: PG, 6-3, 195
Stats: 18.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 11.6 apg, 0.8 spg, 53.2% FG
Comments: A two-time MVP, Nash has as good a shot at any of the top candidates to take the award home again. But he may have to raise his game to an even higher level -- is that possible? -- to convince the voters to honor him yet again.

6) Yao Ming, Rockets
Vitals: C, 7-6, 310
Stats: 25.0 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.0 bpg, 51.6% FG
Comments: Yao is consistently terrific but only plays on a true MVP level for flashes. With some additional help around him this season, perhaps this is the year he takes his game to a higher level and gets some consideration for the award.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 7) Kobe Bryant, Lakers
Vitals: SG, 6-6, 220
Stats: 31.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.4 spg, 46.3% FG
Comments: An amazing player with ridiculous stats, the Lakers superstar's shot at winning the league MVP is limited by his team's record, which tends to be very average.

8) Tracy McGrady, Rockets
Vitals: SG, 6-8, 223
Stats: 24.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1.3 spg, 43.1% FG
Comments: Not considered a true candidate despite amazing stats, as with Yao Ming above, if the Rockets take their game a notch higher this season T-Mac could get some mentions, at least as a candidate that won't win it but is worth mentioning in lists like these.

9) Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
Vitals: SF, 6-8, 230
Stats: 28.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.2 spg, 47.6% FG
Comments: A super scorer with a better all-around game than some may realize, if Melo's Nuggets make loud noise this season he'll get some MVP attention.

nba mvp race, nba mvp watch 10) Allen Iverson, Nuggets
Vitals: SG, 6-0, 165
Stats: 26.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 7.2 apg, 1.9 spg, 44.2% FG
Comments: See comments for Melo. They basically apply for Iverson, too.

11) Gilbert Arenas, Wizards
Vitals: PG, 6-4, 215
Stats: 28.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.9 spg, 41.8% FG
Comments: A great offensive talent, though he needs to raise that field goal percentage, Arenas isn't a top MVP candidate but is good enough to be worth mentioning as one of those bubble players who isn't likely to ever win the award, especially while playing for a pretty good but not great squad.

12) Baron Davis, Warriors
Vitals: PG, 6-3, 215
Stats: 20.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 8.1 apg, 2.1 spg, 43.9% FG
Comments: A scoring point guard who suffers a few too many injuries, B-Diddy's Warriors don't win enough for him to get top MVP consideration, but he certainly helped carry his squad last season in impressive fashion.

HONORABLE MENTION

Deron Williams (Utah Jazz) has emerged as the team's leader, even with Carlos Boozer's impressive work up front. The Jazz are one of the league's best teams, giving Deron a chance to at least flirt with consideration for the award... Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat) plays on an MVP level, but his squad doesn't seem destined to finish with a great record this season... Chris Bosh (Raptors) isn't on an MVP level just yet but he's an All-Star who does a great job carrying the squad that last season won the Atlantic Division... Jason Kidd (Nets) doesn't score a lot but his amazing rebounds and assists averages and all-around leadership always impress... Chris Paul (Hornets) hasn't been around the block long enough to warrant serious MVP consideration just yet but if you look at how great he's played despite injuries to other key Hornets, CP3 is the real deal... Dwight Howard (Magic) is still developing his game, but sheer raw athletic ability allows him to dunk and rebound at will. With the addition of Rashard Lewis to Orlando the team could win more games than expected, which would possibly send some MVP glances in Dwight's direction... Chauncey Billups (Pistons) is the closest thing a well-balanced Detroit squad has to an MVP contender.

Discuss the InsideHoops.com NBA MVP Race list on our basketball forums.







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