2009-2010 Top 5 NBA MVP Candidates
No surprise here. LeBron easily contributes more to his team’s success than any other player in the league. Not only has he increased his scoring and assist averages from last year, but he is shooting at a career high 50.4% mark. Moreover, his supporting cast hasn’t played as strongly as they did last year. Mo Williams’ scoring average has decreased, and Anthony Parker hasn’t contributed as much as expected. With Shaq having missed nearly half the season and the Cavaliers still maintaining the best record in the league throughout, there can be no other choice for MVP in 2009-2010.
It hasn’t taken Durant all that long to translate his college success to the NBA level. He is as consistent as they come in the scoring department, having not allowed his average to dip below 29.7 in any single month since December. From a team standpoint, Durant indirectly opens up space for his wingmen, namely Russell Westbrook. Westbrook’s field goal percentage has increased from 39.8% last year to 42.1% this season, a result of the increased open looks he has received due to Durant’s command of double teams. One aspect that Durant must improve upon, however, if he wants to claim the top spot on this list is his leadership at the end of close games. Durant has been too passive at the end of games. With a few buzzer-beating shots to his name, Durant would get serious consideration for the top spot.
Kobe has the best team around him out of anyone on this list, a fact that probably diminishes his chances of winning MVP. But what isn’t diminished is his ability to carry his team at the end of games. Bryant is one of the most clutch players the NBA has ever seen, and there might not be a season where he has been as heroic as the present one. His 6 game winning shots in 2009-2010 are unprecedented. The Heat, Bucks, Raptors, Mavericks, Kings, and Grizzlies have all laid victim to Bryant’s hand this season. Furthermore, despite having been in the league for 14 seasons, he has put up elite numbers with a relatively weakened frame. His line this year reads 27.1-5.4-5.0-1.6-0.3.
Nash, already a two-time MVP recipient, has put together another remarkable season. His stats across the board are among the best, most notably leading the league in assists and free throw percentage. In addition, he has the second highest field goal percentage of any starting point guard in the league this year. Phoenix has finished the season strongly and could very well end up with the second best record in the west by season’s end. Steve Nash should at least be mentioned as an MVP candidate.
Dirk has had a relatively quiet season for an MVP candidate, but his importance to his team remains undeniable. It could be argued that Nowitzki is the most feared player in the game. He is certainly the toughest match-up on defense. Furthermore, Dirk has embraced his role as a leader more so than ever before. The Mavericks currently patrol the top spot in the Southwest division and the second seed overall in the west. However, one reason Nowitzki is fifth on this list is the fact that his second lowest month’s scoring average came in March, a time where an MVP should be playing at their best.