There is just over a month remaining in the 2017-18 NBA campaign and it appears that a few players may now give Houston’s James Harden some real competition for the MVP Award.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James have been tremendous over the last week and a half. And as a result have moved up in the ninth edition of my MVP Rankings.
All stats are up to date on March 8.
Dropped out: Nikola Jokic, Kyle Lowry
Others: Andre Drummond, Kristaps Porzingis, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, LaMarcus Aldridge
15T. Paul George (up from others), 15T. CJ McCollum, (+2 spots), 14. Joel Embiid (-1 spot), 13.Bradley Beal (+2 spots),12. Karl-Anthony Towns (-2 spots), 11. DeMar DeRozan (no movement)
Top 10 Best Candidates For The NBA MVP Award
10. Victor Oladipo, -2 spots
Oladipo has struggled with his shot lately, tallying just 27 points as he has made only 11 of 38 shots (28.9%) over his last two contests. Still, he is contributing in other departments and came away with five steals to go along with seven assists and three rebounds against Utah on Wednesday.
9. Damian Lillard, +3 spots
Lillard topped the 30-point plateau for the third time in his last four contests when he pumped in 37 points, on 10 of 18 shooting including 8 of 11 from beyond the arc, against New York on Tuesday. Lillard has scorched the nets for at least 30 points in seven of his last 10 contests. Since Feb. 1, he is averaging the second most points in the league at 31.8 a contest.
8. Russell Westbrook, +1 spot
Westbrook has three double-doubles in his last five contests. Westbrook, who poured in 27 points as he made 11 of 14 shots against the Suns on Thursday, is averaging 32.4 points along with 9.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists while shooting 53.3% from the field over his last five games.
7. Kevin Durant, -1 spot
Durant has been really stroking the ball, recently. Durant had a monster game against the Spurs on Thursday, tallying 37 points to go along with 11 rebounds as well as four assists and four blocks. It was the 6-9 forward’s 10th double-double of the season through his first since Jan. 25. He is producing 27.7 points while shooting 57.7% from the floor and 53.6% from beyond the arc over his last 14 contests.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo, -1 spot
Antetokounmpo poured in 30 points, on 12 of 0 shooting, against the Rockets on Thursday -- marking the 22nd time that he has topped the 30 point mark this season. The Greek Freak, who has been held to under 40% shooting four times in his last 19 games, is averaging 25.1 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 50.2% from the field since Jan. 26.
5. Kyrie Irving, - 2 spots
Irving has had an up-and-down last 10 games. Irving, who sat out Monday’s game, came up with one of his best recent performances against the Timberwolves on Thursday. Against the Timberwolves, the 25-year-old point guard compiled 23 points to go along with eight assists and seven assists. He also made 9 of his 15 shots.
Irving is averaging 24.9 points along with 6.2assists and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 52.6% from the field over his last 10 contests.
4. Steph Curry, -2 spots
Curry has been on fire since the All-Star break. The two-time league MVP is averaging 25.0 points, which is the fourth most in the league, while shooting an incredible 52.4% from the field, 50% from beyond the arc and 94.1% from the charity stripe.He is also contributing 4.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists though he is also turning the ball over 2.6 times a game.
Curry has scored at least 21 points in six of his seven post all-star break games. Curry poured in 34 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and three steals against Brooklyn on Tuesday. He made 12 of 20 and 6 of 12 from long-distance to give him 31 triples over the last six contests.
Curry, who leads the league in plus/minus (+9.8), is out for the immediate future with a sprained ankle.
3. Anthony Davis, +4 spots
Davis has been tremendous the Pelicans tremendous season-high 10-game winning streak. The Pelicans have gone from an owning the Western Conference’s ninth-best record (28-26) on Feb. 9 to their current fourth spot, just one game behind third-place Trail Blazers.
Davis is averaging 35.6 points, with 53.7% shooting from the field and 1.5 treys per game at a 44.1% clip since Feb 9. The 6-10 power forward has scored 20 or more points and posted nine double-doubles in nine of the last 10 games. The lone exception was his last game when the 24-year-old Kentucky product managed “just” 17 points along with five rebounds and five blocks in 23 minutes against the Kings on Wednesday.
Davis is currently dealing with a sprained ankle and is unlikely to play against Washington on Friday.
2. LeBron James, +2 spots
"Probably an all-time high," James told ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth during a walk-off interview after Wednesday’s game when asked about how he is playing comparatively to his career.
James scored the Cavaliers final nine points, in their 113-108 victory over the Nuggets, to finish with 39 points along with 10 assists. The 33-year-old made 15 of 25 shots, including 5 of 8 from beyond the arc, to go away with eight rebounds. It marked the fourth game of his illustrious career that he has finished with 39-plus points, 8-plus rebounds and 10-plus assists while making five or more 3-pointers. The King now has 37 double-doubles on the season.
James has scored 30 or more points in four of his last five games, averaging 31.2 points along with 9.2 rebounds and 10.0 assists during this stretch. Since Feb. 26, he is shooting 53.6% from the field and 51.7% from beyond the arc.
James combined points/assists/ rebounds total of 44.4 is the fourth most of his career.
1. James Harden, no movement
Harden and co. has led the Rockets to an NBA-high 17 straight wins with a victory over the Bucks on Wednesday.
Harden’s scoring has taken a slight dip since March 26, dropping by 0.6 points. However, he still leads the league in that department by nearly 2.8 points a game over Anthony Davis.
Harden had a very good week and a half, pumping in 20 or more points in each of his five contests while posting three double-doubles over his last five contests. Harden is shooting 47.6% from the field during this five-game span. He now has 25 double-doubles and three triple-doubles.
Harden also increased his season numbers in every category, other than scoring. The 28-year-old has tallied at least 20 points in 55 of 57 games. He has had six games of 10 or more rebounds and 22 rebounds of more than 10 assists.