A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

2011 NBA POY Watch 12/27

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My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

Remains easily out in front.  We’re at a point now where all the major lists agree with me, but still I’m hearing people question how Dirk can be so clearly #1 when his volume stats aren’t much different from previous seasons.   The advanced stats paint a stronger case for Dirk, but it also has to be noted just how much weaker the competition is this year.  All the big players from previous years have fallen off – except Dirk.  What this says more than anything else, is that it is the perfect time for some new blood to step up.

2. Deron Williams (2)

Deron, I suppose, is leading the charge of the “new blood”, but he’s not that new, and he really doesn’t seem like a legit #2 MVP candidate.  Still, props to the guy, leading the Jazz to another great year.

3. Derrick Rose (4)

Rose keeps climbing.  The Bulls lose Noah, and they’re still scrapping.  I could see Rose becoming a top tier superstar by year’s end.

4. Manu Ginobili (3)

Manu takes his first fall this week.  I expect he’ll fall further as the season progresses and superstars start getting into gear.

5. Chris Paul (6)

Great game by Paul yesterday.  He stopped his freefall on this list., at least temporarily.

6. Kevin Garnett (7)

Boston’s long winning streak finally gets ended this week, but it took a game so bizarre to do it that it feels more like the exception that proves the rule.  Garnett continues to stand tall.

7. LeBron James (10)

LeBron jumps up 3 spots this week, but don’t take that as a sign he’s about to resume his old place at #1 on my lists.  I’ll give him the nod for being the top player on a team that’s now clearly great, but this team isn’t anywhere near as dependent on him as the old Cavs were.

8. Amare Stoudemire (NR)

Still not nearly as sold on Amare and the Knicks as many other people, but they are beating some really good teams with Amare playing a much more well rounded role than he’s done in previous years.  It’s enough to get his foot in the door.

9. Dwight Howard (NR)

Well, the Magic just beat the 2 best teams in the league in consecutive games.  They still have a lot to prove, but you’d be a fool to look past them.  It’s classic Dwight though.  Several dominant games in a row, and then a game where he does nothing and the team still accomplishes something great.  This shouldn’t still be happening with someone so well established as a superstar.

10. Kevin Durant (NR)

I’m going to address both Durant’s appearance, and teammate Russell Westbrook‘s fall off here.  In all honesty, dropping Westbrook from #5 to off the list is pretty much indefensible.  My mea culpa though, as it always will be in a case like this, is about last week’s list being wrong (current lists of course, are always right…until they aren’t).  The reality is that not only is Durant clearly playing better than Westbrook now, but that when you look at the cumulative performance of both guys, it becomes pretty hard to argue that Westbrook’s been the team MVP at this point.

Falling Off

Russell Westbrook

Pau Gasol & Kobe Bryant – The Laker record is still pretty good, but the team is not in good shape and the teams two stars’ current play is a big part of the reason why.


Written by Matt Johnson

December 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm

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