The NBA is in its fifth week of action and it has certainly been terrific. Several players have really stood out with their early season performances.
I will take a weekly look at the top players who should get consideration for MVP in 2017-18. So, without adieu here is my second Power Rankings of MVP candidates in 2017-18.
23.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 49.3% FG, 35.9% 3PT
Beal’s scoring numbers slowly decreased through his four games last week, being held to under 20 points in his last two games -- marking the first time that has occurred since Oct. 29. The good news is that he found other ways to contribute particularly on the defensive end. Beal set season-highs in steals (7) and assists (7) against the Kings on Nov. 11.
23.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, 48.0% FG, 44.6% 3PT
Oladipo picked up his production in each of his four games this past week. Oladipo started the week with two inefficient games though he did a better job with his efficiency the last two games. Oladipo did tie his season-high with six rebounds and added six assists against Detroit on Thursday.
21.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 48.3% FG, 40.9% 3PT
Aldridge has been stroking the ball lately. Over his last four games, Aldridge is shooting 61.8% (35-57) from the field as he topped the 20 point plateau. The only game he did not reach 20 points was in the Spurs blowout victory over the Bulls on Saturday, where he finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
10. Karl-Anthony Towns
21.2 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 54.4% FG, 35.4% 3PT
Towns had his best game over the last week against Utah on Monday, pouring in 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting including 4-of-6 on three-pointers. He also grabbed 13 rebounds for his 10th double-double.
Towns also reached a milestone versus Utah, joining Dwight Howard as the only NBA players to compile 3,000 points and 2,000 rebounds before the age of 22. He ranks in the top-20 in scoring and top-10 in rebounding.
9. Kristaps Porzingis
29.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 49.8% FG, 41.7% 3PT
Porzingis has topped the 30-point plateau eight of the last 12 games. Although he has not reached the mark in any of his last three games. More importantly, he only has two double-doubles this season and none this month. Plus, in the Knicks’ last four losses he has failed to tally 20 points in three of those games and missed the other contest.
8. Anthony Davis
26.2 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 56.5% FG, 38.2% 3PT
Davis has tallied 24-plus points in 10 of 13 games, but two of those games have occurred in the last three contests. However, he also produced two double-doubles and handed out a career-high seven assists and swatted away a season-high seven shots in the Pelicans victory over Atlanta on Monday.
7. Kyrie Irving
20.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 44.4% FG, 32.1% 3PT
Irving struggled in the Celtics victory over the Lakers last Wednesday as he just made 7-of-21 shots and was 0-for-7 from the arc. Irving did finish with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Then his next game, Irving played just two minutes before being forced to leave after taking an inadvertent elbow from teammate Arron Baynes. Irving missed the team’s last game but he made a comeback with 25 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds against the Nets.
6. Steph Curry
25.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.6 APG, 46.7% FG, 38.8% 3PT, 94.4% FT
All of Curry’s numbers dipped from the previous week with the exception of rebounds. Still, Curry was highly efficient in four of his last five games. The lone exception being last Monday against the Heat when he tallied 16 points on just 5-of-19 shooting, including 2-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Curry missed the Warriors, who have won seven straight, 110-100 win over the Magic on Monday with a thigh injury.
5. DeMarcus Cousins
28.2 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, 47.2% FG, 34.6 % 3PT
After three poor shooting games, Cousins bounced back nicely against the Clippers (Saturday) and Hawks (Monday). In his last two games, the 6-11 center made 20-of-35 shots (57.1%), including 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. He totaled 57 points, 31 rebounds and 12 assists in those two games. Cousins now has 13 double-doubles in 14 games this season.
Turnovers remain a problem. He has committed 22 turnovers over the last three games to increase his league-high total to 75.
4. Kevin Durant
24.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.2 BPG, 53.5% FG
Durant has been the epitome of consistency tallying 20 or more points in 12 of his 13 games. He also has shot over at least 50.0% from the field in nine of the 13 games.
With Steph Curry sitting out with an injury against Philadelphia (Monday), Durant stepped up as a facilitator. The 6-9 small forward poured in a team-high 21 points, doled out a season-high eight assists and grabbed seven as the Warriors defeated the Magic. He missed all four of his three-point attempts, ending his streak of at least one three-pointer at 12 games.
3. LeBron James
28.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 8.5 APG, 59.9% FG, 36.0% 3PT
James’ scoring numbers and shooting numbers took a small dip after his last two games as he tallied 42 points, on 13-of-28 shots (46.4%). But the Cavs have won two straight and the King collected double-doubles in both games.
James was particularly brilliant in the fourth quarter against the Knicks on Monday night against the Knicks. Over the last 12 minutes, James was responsible for 27 of the Knicks 43 points in their furious comeback as he scored seven points and doled out eight assists. This includes a step back three-pointer from 27 feet that gave Cleveland a 100-97 lead, which was its first lead since early in the second. He finished 23 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
Turnovers are his biggest issue right now. James averaged 5.4 turnovers over the last five games.
2. James Harden
30.2 PPG, 10.2 APG, 4.9 RPG, 45.4% FG, 39.6% 3PT
Harden showed why he has been the runner-up in the MVP race in two of the last three years against Cleveland. Despite not having the most efficient shooting night, Harden stepped up his production in other areas to help the Rockets fend off the Cavs. He was particularly impressive on the defensive end.
While Harden only made 8-of-21 shots from the field, he still produced an efficient 35 points as he knocked down six three-pointers and was 13-of-14 from the charity stripe. The Beard also had 13 assists and 11 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season. He also had five steals and one block.
Harden capped off the week with 38 points against Memphis and a 26-point, 15 assists double-double versus Indiana. He also had 15 triples during the week to give him a league-high 61 treys on the season.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
31.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 4.7 APG, 59.4% FG, 30.4% 3PT
Antetokounmpo had a fabulous week. The 6-11 forward followed up a highly efficient 40-point and eight-turnover performance against the Cavs (Nov. 7) with two double-doubles and three games of at least 27 points while leading the Bucks to three straight wins.
Over his last four games, Antetokounmpo has averaged 32 points,11.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists while making 50-of-86 (58.1%) shots from the floor. He also recorded 10 blocks and four steals. His eight turnovers against the Cavs notwithstanding, he turned the ball over six times in his other three games.