Early Take on the MVP/RoY RacesBrewHoop.com will be polling several NBA bloggers throughout the season to get their takes on the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year races. Contributors have been instructed to rank candidates on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and 5-4-3-2-1 point scale respectively (i.e., 10 is a person's first choice for MVP), based on the entire season to date, not who we think will be the best player by the end of the year or who has played well in a recent stretch. The results of the first poll can be found here.
Four of my top five MVP candidates finished in the top five in the overall voting; I rated Tim Duncan higher and Chris Paul lower than the consensus. Eight of my ten MVP candidates finished in the top ten; I left off Carlos Boozer and Manu Ginobili (they would be in my top 15) in favor of Dirk Nowitzki and Yao Ming. As for Rookie of the Year, I am not surprised that Kevin Durant finished first but I have him third right now. Three of my five Rookie of the Year selections were consensus picks; I left off Jamario Moon and Yi Jianlian in favor of Sean Williams and Luis Scola. The group is wrong to ignore Williams, who ranks in the top ten in the league (not just among rookies) in field goal percentage and blocked shots; he is a more productive player, right now, than Durant and Williams is making his contributions on a much better team. Moon and Scola are probably a wash right now but if we are talking about production to date then I would not put Yi in the top five. Here is my complete ballot exactly as I submitted it:
10-LeBron James--He is racking up "big" triple doubles (with 30-plus points) like Michael Jordan in 1989 and has improved on defense as well.
9-Kobe Bryant--He is still the best all-around, two way player in the game but the voting instructions are to select who is playing the best right now and no one is playing better than LeBron.
8-Dwight Howard: His numbers--24 ppg, 15 rpg, nearly 3 bpg--demand that he rank highly in any MVP discussion.
7-Kevin Garnett: Barring a complete collapse by the Celtics, the media will likely give him the MVP. He is putting up good numbers, which he always does, but I'd be lying if I said I'd take him over LeBron or Kobe. Honestly, I don't think that he is better than Duncan or Nowitzki but he has been more productive than either of those guys so far.
6-Tim Duncan: He's not putting up big individual numbers but does anybody believe that the Spurs would have the best record in the West without him?
5-Steve Nash: Amazingly, his shooting percentages are even higher than his off the charts numbers from last season.
4-Dirk Nowitzki: His shooting numbers are down but his assists and blocks are up.
3-Chris Paul: Career-high numbers across the board.
2-Tracy McGrady: Houston's record without him in recent seasons is terrible.
1-Yao Ming: Steady inside presence on an up and down Houston team.
5-Al Horford: Nearly averaging a double-double and shooting a much better percentage than Durant.
4-Sean Williams: Ranks in the top ten in the league (not just among rookies) in field goal percentage and blocked shots.
3-Kevin Durant: I realize that Durant will likely be a landslide winner due to the unrelenting hype but the only significant edge he has over my top two selections is ppg--and that is because he is playing a lot of minutes for a bad team and he has the green light to jack up shots despite his poor field goal percentage.
2-Juan Carlos Navarro: Logged at least 35 minutes in four straight games, played a big role in Memphis going 2-2 in those contests.
1-Luis Scola: Already has three 20 point games, ranks 11th in the NBA in field goal percentage and has emerged as a solid rebounder.
posted by David Friedman @ 3:03 AM