There are less than two months remaining in the 2017-18 NBA campaign, however, it appears that James Harden will finally claim his first MVP award.
While Harden is the overwhelming favorite to capture the most prestigious individual award, other players are still making their case. Anthony Davis is one of those players. Davis has come on real strong since the Pelicans lost fellow MVP candidate, DeMarcus Cousins, to a season-ending injury a month ago.
Since Cousins injury, New Orleans, sixth in the Western Conference, has won six of 11 games. Davis has produced nine double-doubles and has six games of at least 30 points in these 11 games without Boogie.
Here is the eighth edition of my 2017-18 MVP Rankings.
All stats are up to date on Feb. 26.
Dropped out: Klay Thompson
Others: Kyle Lowry, Andre Drummond, Kristaps Porzingis, DeMarcus Cousins, Nikola Jokic (moved in)
20. DeMarcus Cousins (-1 spot), 19. Jimmy Butler (-4 spots), 18. Paul George (up from others), 17. CJ McCollum, (+2 spots), 16. Chris Paul (+1 spot), 15. Bradley Beal (+1 spot), 14. LaMarcus Aldridge (no movement), 13. Joel Embiid (no movement), 12. Damian Lillard (no movement ), 11. DeMar DeRozan (no movement)
Top 10 Best Candidates For The NBA MVP Award
10. Karl-Anthony Towns, -1 spot
20.2 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.5 BPG, 54.1% FG, 41.3% 3PT
Towns, the league-leader in double-doubles with 53, has racked up four consecutive double-doubles and in 12 of 13 games. Although the 7-footer has made just one of his last nine three-point attempts. He is averaging a career-best 1.5 triples a game for the season.
9. Russell Westbrook, -1 spot
25.1 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 10.4 APG, 1.9 SPG, 44.0% FG, 29.1% 3PT
Westbrook has struggled with his shooting, lately, as he has made just 21 of his last 62 shots (32.8%) over the last four games. Still, he has posted a double-double in each of those games, including two triple-doubles. Westbrook, the league’s leader in triple-doubles (18), has produced six double-doubles and three triple-doubles this month.
8. Victor Oladipo, -1 spot
24.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.2 APG, 48.1% FG%, 38.0% 3PT
Oladipo has struggled with efficiency lately, shooting under 42% from the field in four of his last six games. Moreover, he has made just 7-of-his last 28 (25%) shots from beyond the arc.
Still, as a result of his sheer volume, Oladipo has continued his streak of scoring in double-figures in each of his 53 games this season. The 25-year-old tallied just 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting on Friday, tying his second-lowest output of the season.
While he struggled with his shot recently, Oladipo has upped his the production in other categories. Specifically, he has stepped up on the defensive end. Oladipo, who has come up with a league-high 3.8 thefts in February, is also averaging 6.8 rebounds along with 5.0 assists this month.
7. Anthony Davis, +3 spots
27.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, 2.2 BPG, 1.4 SPG, 53.7% FG, 34.7% 3PT
Davis had a fantastic week. Davis started out his post all-star break with a 45 point and 17 rebound performance in a victory over the Heat on Friday. He made 17 of 34 shots from the field and 10 of 11 from the charity stripe. He also added five steals and five blocks.
The 6-foot-10 big man followed his sixth 40-point effort of the season with his 34th double-double of the campaign, putting up 27 points and 13 rebounds in win over the Bucks on Sunday.
Davis is averaging a league-high 34.0 points, on 50.4% shooting, while also grabbing the seventh most rebounds (12.2) in February. He is also second in steals (2.8) and fourth in blocks (2.4) in the month. In addition, he has a league-high seven double-doubles.
6. Kevin Durant, no movement
26.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 5.5 APG, 52.1% FG, 42.7% 3PT
Durant has continued his best scoring month, topping the 20-point plateau in each of his last two games and for the sixth time in February. Durant torched OKC (Saturday) for 28 points as he made 10-of-20 shots overall, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
Durant, who is shooting 60.7% from the field and 53.1% from beyond the arc in February, is averaging 27.4 points this month -- which is the fourth most in the league.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo, no movement
27.6 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 4.9 APG, 53.5% FG, 28.1% 3PT
Antetokounmpo has continued to put up gaudy numbers, however, he has shot a disappointing 48.2% from the field and just 20.0% from beyond the arc in February. The Greek Freak topped the 20-point mark for the 50th time on Sunday, in the overtime loss to New Orleans, though he has was just 6-of-18 from the field. He has shot below 45% from the floor five times this month.
Antetokounmpo has picked up seven double-doubles and one triple-double in February. He now has 29 double-doubles and needs only three more to match last year’s career-best total.
4. LeBron James, no movement
26.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG,8.9 APG, 54.6 % FG, 35.6% 3PT
James continues to amaze this season though turnovers are still a problem. James picked up his 34th double-double in the loss to San Antonio (Sunday), compiling 33 points along with 13 rebounds and nine assists as well as six turnovers. He now has 19 games of 30 or more points.
James, who has six double-doubles and three triple-doubles in February, needs eight more double-doubles as well as two triple-doubles to tie his career-high in both categories. He is just a +0.2 in plus/minus this month.
James is turning the ball over four times a game in February, marking the fifth straight month of turning the ball over that many times. He has committed five or more turnovers in a game 29 times this season. And his 12.6% turnover rate is a personal-high.
3. Kyrie Irving, no movement
24.7 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.7 RPG, 48.6% FG, 40.2% 3PT
Irving has continued to play solid basketball. He has scored in double-figures in each of his seven February games, making 50% of his shots in five of those contests.
Irving, who tied his season-high with six triples against the Knicks, compiled 31 points along with nine rebounds and eight assists in Saturday’s win. It was the second time in the past three contests that he has produced 30 points and doled out nine assists.
2. Steph Curry, no movement
26.8 PPG, 6.5 APG, 5.3 RPG, 49.4% FG, 42.1% 3PT
Curry came out of the all-star break, where he had a poor showing in the all-star, sizzling against the Clippers as he came up with 44 points and 10 assists. Curry made 14 of 19 shots from the floor, including 8 of 11 from beyond the arc, and 8 of 8 from the charity stripe in the game against the Clips. It was his fifth double-double of the campaign.
The two-time MVP has scored 65 points, doled out 16 assists and 15 rebounds in his two games after the all-star break. He also has made 13 of 23 shots (56.5%) from beyond the arc.
1. James Harden, no movement
31.5 PPG, 9.0 APG, 5.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 44.7 % FG, 38.6% 3PT
A game after struggling against Minnesota to start the post all-star break, Harden was en fuego against Denver on Sunday. Harden torched the Nuggets for 41 points, marking the ninth time that he has reached the 40-point mark, as he made 11 of 20 shots from the floor. The 28-year-old was also 6 of 10 from beyond the arc and 13 of 16 from the free throw line.
Harden leads the NBA in scoring, three-point makes and free-throw makes. He has made at least four triples in 10 of his last 11 contests.