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SBM Sports: Jay Cooke’s 2012 NBA MVP Predictions

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As the NBA season draws to an end, it is time to give out post season awards.  Why not start with the most coveted individual award, Most Valuable Player.  The NBA is estimated to have around 425 players active this season so the chance of a player winning the MVP award is 1/425.  Aside from NBA championships, MVP awards are discussed when defining a player’s greatness, so this award holds great importance in defining a player’s legacy.  The stats used in this article are as of the morning of Tuesday, April 10, 2012.  Let’s get cooking…Which NBA player deserves this season’s MVP award?  Here’s my breakdown of the top candidates with the best chance to win it:

Honorable Mention:

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Entering this season, I was not big on Kevin Love. I thought Love was a lot of hype and he would not be able to live up to the numbers he produced last year…BOY was I wrong! Love has only gotten better this season in EVERY statistical category.  I know his team has a below .500 record. If his team was better, he would definitely make this list.  This season, Kevin Love is averaging 26.5 points, 13.5 rebounds per game, and shooting 37% from the three point line. I know of a few people who believe Kevin Love’s numbers should be marked with an asterisk since he’s producing these numbers on a bad team, but you can’t deny the man’s greatness.

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Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have the best record in the NBA. Derrick Rose is averaging 23 points and 8 assists per game this season. The reigning MVP deserves to be in this conversation; however, he has missed 22 out of 57 games. It is hard to give this award to a player that has missed 39% of their team’s games.

5.       Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

In the era of point guards, Chris Paul has had the best season out of the bunch. Lob City (Blake,Chris) has had a few bumps in the road recently; however, they seem poised for their first playoff appearance since 2006.  The Clippers are 13—14 on the road, but their 21-9 home record has them seated as a top four team in the Western Conference. And none of this would be accomplished without the leadership and play of Chris Paul. Chris is averaging 19.3 points, 9 assists and 2.5 steals per game this season.  Everyone talks about Lob City. But besides Blake Griffin, Chris Paul has really turned a mediocre team into a top four team in the West in his first season in Clipper land.

4.       Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Dwight is the most dominate big man in the league since Shaq was wearing yellow/purple. Dwight is averaging 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks this season while leading his team to the playoffs. Dwight is the only person on this list who does not have a Robin on his team. Without Dwight, The Magic would be t-u-r-i-b-b-l-e.

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But we can’t ignore how Dwight’s recent back injury and his issues with management are overshadowing his strong performance this season.

3.       Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant is the closest thing to the “holy grail” when it comes to this era of basketball. Entering into his 15th season, I expected Kobe’s game to start declining, and for the Lakers to feature their offense around a young Andrew Bynum…Yet again, I was completely wrong! Kobe Bryant is probably having his best offensive season of his career. He leads the league in scoring this season with 28.1 points per game while leading an older Lakers team to the third seed in the West.  He also has a great chance of earning another championship and further cementing his legacy.

2.       Lebron James, Miami Heat

A month ago, I had Lebron as #1 on this list. But as of late, the Heat have been slumping. Despite their slide, they are locked into the second seed in the East courtesy Lebron’s play.  He has won two MVP awards in Cleveland, but he’s having his best statistical year this season. Lebron is averaging 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 2 steals per game while shooting an outstanding 53% from the field.

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There is no doubt the Miami Heat will be ready come late May. However, their recent struggles will only hurt Lebron’s chances of winning his third MVP. Well, that and the fact people will judge him based on his performance in the playoffs and not what he’s done all season long.

1.       Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder have the best record in the West thanks to the leadership of Mr. Kevin Durant. I have never been a fan of watching western movies but every time I watch Durant play, I feel like I am watching a good old fashion shoot out. Kevin Durant has a 6’9-6’10 frame, so he causes match-up issues for opposing shooting guards and small forwards. Durant is averaging 27.6 points, 8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 50% from the field. If Durant improves his game, it will become unfair for whoever has to guard him on a nightly, which could mean multiple MVP awards for years to come.

Is this the first of many MVP awards for Kevin Durant? Who is your favorite for MVP this season? Anybody missing from the list? Let me know in the comments.

Jay Cooke

Comment(30)

  1. I feel like Durant would be more of an MVP candidate if he didn't play along side Russell Westbrook. Granted the NBA wants him to have it, therefore, we can invoke the "Steve Nash" rule… Even though there's clearly a more VALUABLE player to his team, since we want this guy to have, he'll have it. The same thing for Lebron. I think it's really down to Kevin Love and Kobe Bryant. And while people make the argument that Kobe has Bynum/Gasol. Think about that logically. Neither Gasol/Bynum compliment the game of Kobe like Wade or Westbrook.

      1. The award for the best player on the best team goes to the NBA Finals MVP. I hope this clears up this argument from here on out.

        1. Dr. J, i see your point but the regular season MVP is a mixture of individual numbers and team performance. There is NO way the MVP award could be given to Love with his team having a record well below .500. That would be like rewarding bad behavior by giving this award to a player on such a terrible team. Players on bad teams get snubbed for the all- star game all the time so there is no way a player on a terrible team would win MVP. Not in this lifetime no matter how good there numbers.

    1. "I feel like Durant would be more of an MVP candidate if he didn't play along side Russell Westbrook. "

      I'll never understand this line of reasoning. Because he plays within another great player it makes him less of an MVP candidate? That's almost akin to when ppl weren't giving Kobe credit for his first three rings b/c he was playing with Shaq.

      "Think about that logically. Neither Gasol/Bynum compliment the game of Kobe like Wade or Westbrook"

      I don't about this either. Because someone compliments your game less means you deserve more consideration for MVP? If that's the case then Karl Malone, Barkley, Olajuwan, etc.. got robbed during the Jordan MVP years since Jordan had Scottie Pippen there who compliemnted him well.

      1. As to your first point, it's really about your basketball IQ, not to say you have a low one. It's just how the ball movement goes when you're playing with excellent wing players or a scoring PG versus a post presence. Like I said in an earlier post, Russell Westbrook prevents halfcourt traps and also wedging off high ball screens because you have to stay home on him. Versus Kobe, where you can double him on the high screen or trap him because you don't have to worry all that much about Fisher scoring. Then when you factor in Westbrook and Harden, that's opening up a lot of real estate in the mid-range to 3pt range court. That's a great benefit to Durant.

        Second point, I think they got robbed too! LMAO… like Scottie while not the same scoring presence as Westbrook, made it easier for Jordan to get in his spots in the triangle.

        1. I hear what you're saying, man, and I'm not disagreeing with your observation, but it's almost as if you're suggesting Durant wouldn't have the same kind of success or productivity he is having if he was more in Kobe's situation. You can flip flop players and both will do just as well as they did with their respective teams. All I'm saying is who you play with shouldn't minimize your consideration for MVP. You play the cards your dealt and there are a handful of players that can take any hand and go all in and win, no matter what. Durant is in that category along with Kobe and a few others.

  2. I have to agree with Cooke on KD receiving the award of MVP this season. Heading into the playoffs, Durant has OKC playing some of the best basketball in the NBA. As for Dr. J comment about co star, last I checked, Pau was a four time all star and Bynum was the second best center in the game today so no Kobe does not get an advantage when it comes to the MVP race because he is playing with "lesser talent". Cooke is right, aside from Howard and Love, everyone on this list is playing with a fellow all star. As a Texas boy, I would change just one thing on this list, I would substitute Tony Parker on this list for Chris Paul. The Spurs have had to deal with age and injuries this season but they sit a top of the West just one game back of OKC. AlL courtesy of the leadership and play of CP3.

    1. You didn't peep what I said. I said that compliment their game in the same way. When Gasol/Bynum start clearing out and knocking down open threes or being able to create off the dribble, i'll listen. Those are post players and have to be fed the ball. Wade and Westbrook cause defenders to stay at home. For Durant it's even WORSE. He has Harden too. That opens up a lot more opportunity for him.

      1. Between Durant, Lebron and Kobe, Kobe's co stars better compliment him than Lebron or Durant. Lebron and Durant both have to share the wing and ball with their sidekick. In Laker land, Kobe does not have to share the wing with Gasol or. Bynum. And Kobe is able to dominate the ball.

  3. The MVP debate is always fun because it's subjective. To me, it means the best player on a successful team. If the Timberwolves were in the Playoffs, I'd want to pick Love but he's out.

    I think LBJ should win, I think Durant WILL win. He wouldn't be the worst choice in history (ahem, Steve Nash's second trophy), but I think it's directly related to the ESPN-ification of voting.

    If San Antonio ends up with the 1 seed in the West, I'd love to see Tony Parker get some love. He's had a GREAT year.

    1. Well said Joe….you must know a little something about sports. Lol.

      It is so sad how the MVP award has turned into a popularity contest….Lebron does not stand a chance because it has become the cool thing in sports to hate on him.

  4. Most years you get to kinda watch ESPN see which way the reporters are leaning and guess who the MVP is going to… this year, I don't know if its the short season, but the talking heads are changing their minds everyday. I can't blame them at first Lebron was having a historic year, than the Heat took this weird nap a couple of weeks ago completely effing up my fantasy team he still might have the best advance stats in the league but when you remember how much people HATE on him you realize he doesn't have much of a chance.

    I think Durant will win. He has got the image and his team is worthy. Dude improved his rebounding this year and his assist are a career high. All this talk about how good Westbrook is.. just remember they only have three guys who have even a chance to score more than ten pts a game. plus he is clutch and lebron just isn't.
    My recent post The Game:Derwin’s About to go H.A.M Review

  5. I wanna say KD all the way but thats like giving it to Paul Pierce knowing Rondo is the real reason Boston is playin at a high level……Westbrook is that dude…KD is a pure shooter. I think hes learning how to be a leader but hes not there yet. MVP to me basically means you play above the rest and you also lead from the front of the pack forcing ya teammates to become better players. Like how Rose did for the Bulls. KD is not there yet.

    1. I actually disagree here. I think if KD played with a pure PG like Rondo, he'd put up the best scoring numbers we've seen since Jordan was averaging 35.

        1. Cheekz I'm not saying Westbrook is a true leader either but he's an intricate part of the equation. They didn't give him that new contract for nothing. You cant say Kevin Durant without saying Westbrook – and that's a problem..

      1. Disagree here. KD would still average around 30 or so. KD can average 35 now if he wanted, but he's not that selfish, nor does he need to. Harden and Ibaka would benefit more greatly scoring-wise from Rondo, IMO.

    2. I have to disagree people seem to forget KD gets the most rebounds on his team as well as avg a block a game. he is the general of his troops and with five seconds on the clock I feel confident in him shooting that sweet fade away 3

  6. Where was that sweet fade away 3 tonight against the Clippers…(miss land!). Sorry for that jab, i think KD is something really special but he is no Lebron or Kobe at this point. Even without a ring and his choking act last year in the playoffs, Lebron is great and everyone knows Kobe's resume (5 rings, 2 Finals MVP, 1 regular season MVP). Durant has yet to accomplish anything.'.."yet' I think this season's MVP award will go to KD and it will start the KD era of basketball.

  7. Ok, maybe it's just me, but I just do not understand why there are so many qualifiers when trying to determine this. SMH. LeBron can't' win it b/c he plays with Wade and Bosh….Durant can't win it because w/o Westbrook he wouldn't get the same looks…Kobe has two 7- footers that demand attention. It's really ridiulous if you ask me. But you didn't ask, so I'ma chill.

  8. The one I'll address here is: "The Heat have been playing bad the last 2 weeks so I dunno about LeBron winning it." Last time I checked this was MVP for the ENTIRE season. What's the difference between a player's team having a mini slump in the middle of the season versus towards the end if they still end up with the same record and seed (in this case the #2 seed in the East with the Heat)??? There is no difference. There is too much of a 'prisoner of the moment' and 'what have you done for me lately' attitude that goes into these opinions.

    I believe James and Durant are the front runners and James, currently, deserves it, but wouldn't be surprised if Durant wins.

  9. Chris Paul deserves the MVP. Out of all the players on this list (besides Dwight Howard) who’s team would make the playoffs with out them? Lakers would still make it maybe as like a 6th or 7th seed OKC would make it probably as a 7th or 8th seed, Cago would make it seeing how they beat a healthy Miami Heat team with out Rose. They’d be top 4 still. Miami would make it simply because DWade would put up better numbers because he’d have to. Kevin Love… Can’t be in the conversation just because his team isn’t in a playoff position with him and couldn’t be in much of a worse position without him. But the Clippers. We saw how far Blake’s explosiveness and theatrics can take them. Chris Paul single handily wills this team to win. Ok the clips are in 4th place but that’s what 8 spots higher than last year? Did anyone see what he did last Sunday against the Hornets? Granted it was the Hornets but to be down by 13 with 5 minutes left and running the tables to win by 9? Not many players do that. Chris Paul has been the best closer in the NBA this season and his numbers are rediculous for a point guard. He is the reason why Blake Griffin has his numbers. And the fact Chauncy Billups went down with that injury and he kept them in the division title race even better. Had they won the division I think that would of locked it for him sense the Clippers have never won the divison

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