Summer Dreaming: Most Valuable Player

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HANG TIME, Texas – We’ve been to the beach to soak up the rays and the scenery. We’ve dove into a cool mountain lake at the end of an invigorating hike. We’ve got the adrenaline pumping with a whitewater kayak ride through rapids. We’ve taken our inner tubes down the river for a long afternoon float.

What else is left to do on these sultry summer days for relaxation except to lie back in a hammock and dream of MVPs who’ll heat things up on all those chilly winter nights?

While it’s still months away from the season openers, we’re taking off from the free throw line in our lazy naps and soaring all the way to April for the top five contenders on my ballot.

LeBron James, Heat – This is when the big fun and the vegetable throwing really starts as LeBron’s resume begins to more closely resemble that of Michael Jordan, which only means the worshippers at the Church Of His Airness will scream heresy, among other more unpleasant things. He’s averaging 27.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 6.9 apg through his first 10 NBA seasons and as he turns 29, only seems to be getting more comfortable in his own skin. When James again leads the Heat to the best regular-season record on the way to a three-peat as NBA champs, he’ll be moving into lofty air. Three consecutive MVPs will put him in a class with MJ, Larry Bird, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. A fifth MVP overall will tie him with Jordan and leave trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six). To think that he could be just getting into the meat of his career.

Kevin Durant, Thunder – As long as LeBron is upright, healthy and not getting bored of steamrolling everything in his path, KD just might have to get accustomed to a career as a great second banana when it comes to the MVP. Well, it did work out OK for Robin, Dr. Watson, Paul Shaffer and Chewbacca. There isn’t a thing anybody can throw out there to knock Durant, the most prolific scoring machine of this age. No shot is out of his range and he makes every shot look oh-so-easy. He’ll either win his fourth scoring title in five years or finish a couple of tenths behind Carmelo Anthony again. Unless Durant really elevates his OKC teammates above an strong Western Conference class of contenders, he’ll simply have to deal with being born at the same time as LeBron. But remember, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were annually overlooked at MVP voting time, winning just one apiece. KD would likely be quite satisfied if he could get just a fraction of their nine combined championships.

Dwight Howard, Rockets – This is how he gets back at the Lakers and all those mean things they said about him. This is how he proves to everybody that he made the right choice by emulating Davy Crockett and settling down in Texas. Howard has already been spending time in the practice gym with his two Houston mentors, Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon. If just half of their knowledge and fundamentals of the game rubs off on him, the Dwightmare will be over. After two seasons of indecision that also included back surgery and a shoulder injury, Howard will go back to being fit and happy on the court. That should produce another season of leading the league in rebounding, putting a chokehold on another Defensive Player of the Year Award and upping his scoring average off the pick and roll with James Harden and Jeremy Lin. There will be a lot of voters with long memories that won’t want to forget his past childish acts. But if Howard lifts the Rockets to 55 or more wins and has them looking like true contenders by April, he’s in the MVP hunt.

Derrick Rose, Bulls – After 1 1/2 years, The Return will finally be more than just a TV commercial for Adidas. No more worries about juking this way or that on a surgically repaired ACL. No more wondering about whether he can jump off his left foot and dunk. No more having to listen to all the imbeciles who wanted him to risk perhaps the next 10 years of an All-Star career by getting out on the floor for a few games at the end of last season to prove his manhood. The Rose who returns will have questions to answer to his fans and to himself, but at 24 he’s young enough to come back even stronger and better than he was. Keep in mind this is a guy who already has an MVP trophy (2011) on his mantle. A lot has changed in the landscape since Rose collapsed to the floor in the 2012 playoffs. The Heat have won two titles and have found their identity. The Pacers proved they’re for real. The Nets are reconfigured and loaded. The East will be a beast, but don’t be surprised if Rose comes back with a roar.

Chris Paul, Clippers – You figure that maybe Paul deserves to be given a truckload of MVP trophies just for transforming the laughingstock Clippers franchise into not just the best in the Staples Center, but a real contender. Everybody knows his on-court talent — great handle, penetrating to pass, hits the jumper, steals your lunch with ballhawking defense — but it’s his fierce competitiveness and overall attitude that have lifted the Clippers. The Western Conference will be even tougher next season with Dwight Howard in Houston and Andre Iguodala boosting Golden State. But you figure that new coach Doc Rivers will grab the Clippers attention and make them more than just the Lob City sideshow. That means he’ll ask even more from CP3 and there’s little doubt that the little guy can deliver. They made not improve on last season’s 56 wins, but should shoehorn their way into another top-four seeding by winning the Pacific Division. Now that Paul has re-signed and committed to the Clippers, the real good stuff has likely just begun.

PREVIOUSLY: Coach of the Year | Sixth Man of the Year | Defensive Player of Year | Most Improved Player | Rookie Of Year

95 Comments

  1. There are others in the league that deserve it more. Chris Paul for how he has helped the Clippers, Melo had an MVP season last season and was robbed, KD has formed a team and is one of the slickest players. LBJ was thrown together with Bosh on a team with Wade a former MVP and finals MVP. If he deserves all his MVP’s and gets one this season then MJ should have had 6 MVP’s (96/97 season). Even Kobe played well in the end last season to save the Lakers from not reaching the playoffs. He has only won it once when there has been seasons he should have.

  2. HEAT4EVER says:

    How about Tony Parker??? I’m not even a SPURS fan but I do recognize players when it’s due…#respect

  3. Neil Young says:

    Write some more Lebron stories! Can’t get enough! Pulitzers!

  4. Adam says:

    NBa wouldnt even show my post. shows how biased this stuff really is…..

    • Neil Young says:

      Heard that, I had to change the paragraph ahead of me several times. They all want the same thing

  5. Neil Young says:

    Lebron will win 7 more consecutive trophy’s because now that Kobe is nearly retired, there really is no one else that is any good. Melo doesn’t pleay defense on an overhyped team that never goes past the first round (its like giving an MVP to TMAC for his work on the rockets), Howard should be voted Least Valuable (Ask the Lakers), Rose who didn’t play all year,

    Basically leaves Durant and Paul as my likely candidates, however both need help. KD needs to play d and dominate games consistently against top level teams, and Chris needs to have his team get at least to the finals. Otherwise, there really are no challengers, so it will be easy for Lebron to win five more. Or 12.

    Seems like this league is pretty weak (just look at the east on its own), all-around, so its pretty easy for everyone to love the Grand Narcissist for another 5 years. If the NBA had more consistent talent from team to team (smaller rosters or less teams) the NBA would look more like when Bird actually won those and Wilt was a freak.

    Doesn’t really look like MVP performances: almost lost to the Pacers, should have lost to the Spurs, (several times) all going to game 7’s with people questioning your team’s focus and everyone thinks you deserve it so why play hard? Well in that case give the MVP to Miller for last year, and Battier for this year, the only reasons he has two rings. Great regular season numbers when nothing matters, but in the playoffs, you can’t get your team to win so some bench players jack up threes to bail you out of 4th quarters against the geriatric kids? Popularity contest is all this is, and Lebron is the most popular polarizing NBA player, love him or hate him it seems.

    PS he gets no help from the media, especially LJSN, formerly ESPN.

  6. Shady says:

    Rose Ain’t Winning Nuthin’. D. Williams, Baby. Brooklyn All Day.

  7. AC says:

    once again, haters gonna hate on NYK.

    MELO WAS THE ONLY PERSON TO EVEN RECEIVE A FIRST PLACE VOTE LAST YEAR OUTSIDE OF LEBRON. Not Chris Paul, not KD, not even John Lucas III. And you don’t even have the respect to include him in this year’s discussion at all.

    But whatever, keep snubbing us in every category. Its only fueling our fire for this season.

  8. Dmac says:

    Its russells westbrooks turn haha

  9. sakarooski says:

    most of the players ppl say will win MVP have a supporting team that helps them win games… maybe you should be picking players that carry a team mostly on their own to a winning season. that’s a true MVP a player that’s most valuable to his team not the player with the best stats

  10. ewing 33 says:

    Carmelo y los knicks estan vivo

  11. J says:

    LeBron James! easy

    fran blinebury I loved these articles they were all great!

  12. Jumppong says:

    Andre wiggins.. will be the best

  13. Test LBJ says:

    They should test LBJ for HGH or any sort of performance enhancing drugs. The early hairloss and extremely big and fast body is quite suspicious. Not a hater, i’m just curious.

  14. YungBoiiP says:

    d-rose takin MVP no question about it

  15. thefan says:

    obviously its lebron, please put the hate to the side and compare these players side by side..how can anyone say anyone else other then lbj is beyond me…hes fast, strong, talented, powerful, smart bball IQ and has multiple rings, mvps, gold medals, his accolades go on and on…i think hes been on 3 or 4 seasons where himself and his team has won 60+ games in the regular season, including the second longest streak in nba history…..take any other player from the list mentioned above and they lack something that lebron has..the dude plays defense just as good as his offense, his team mates are much better around him and hes only getin better..hasnt even hit 30 yet..unless im completely missing something, this dude will win mvp and a ring each season until he has a season ending injury or one of these players mentioned above evolves their overall game to his level and beyond OR another insane player whose bigger, faster, stronger, powerful and more gifted than lbj steps into the nba..we havent seen a player this complete in a very long time. i understand people are fans of other players and so thats why they are sayin their favorite player will win an mvp but puttin favoritism to the side, and using pure logic, clearly james will win it and another ring…the guy is just too good..

    • Saeed says:

      I agree with the part that LeBron has had things and a package that no guy has ever had in the history of NBA, but still it’s not easy. Even the regular season MVP let alone the ring. I think he has to toughen his mind more each year he comes after a championship so that he’s able to win another MVP title. But for another championship, he has to toughen his mind AND be a little bit lucky. I think OKC, Thunder, Houston and Pacers are the biggest threat to Miami this season especially Oklahoma.

    • Han says:

      Cause the season is not started yet. Anything can happen, like LeBron get injured or underperformed. So, it’s fair to say, that other still has a chance (albeit not better than LeBron though).

  16. okc4lyfe35 says:

    KD gonna take his 1st ring and MVP

  17. Eduard says:

    Melo or Paul George?

  18. What about James harden?

    • J says:

      if he averaged 26pts 8asts 6reb 2stls 1blk (which he could be able to do, he’s terrific) then u can put him in the MVP conversations

  19. Chalmers says:

    LeBron, KD, Melo, Kobe, Parker., Paul George, Tim Duncan. These guys are the best right now. No question. It will be very interesting to see how D Rose and Rondo fair after coming back from injury. Also watch out for Westbrook. This guy in my opinion is a beast. Could be one of the most talented young dudes in the league.

  20. Yup I am here says:

    Lebron will win his 4th MVP in 5 years unless voters are tired of voting for him as they were for MJ in his time in the NBA.

  21. VMX says:

    I can think of knocks on KD, no D and doesn’t make he teammates better. When you’re an elite player and haven’t won, it’s time for nitpicking.

  22. Luxon Destine says:

    I’m sorry guys Miami is the best in the world, LeBron James number one…

  23. Luxon Destine says:

    I’m sorry guys Miami is the best in the world

  24. VMX says:

    Did the writer imply MJ won the MVP three consecutive years? That never happened. Russell, Wilt, and Bird only.

  25. weednba says:

    PAUL GEORGE????

  26. Jacob says:

    I’m removing Paul rose and Howard out of the convo – griffen will have to become MVP for that teams I reach the next level- chi and houstan are better ith out there respective players- add Kobe (if lakers are 3-4-5 he will give Lebron a run) and add either Irving or Parker

  27. lee says:

    I see the bulls getting the number 1 seed this year the teams have got better but the bulls will be a lot better with d rose no other playoff team can say the added that talent to their roster

  28. Miami Heat Fan says:

    Miami Heat vs Chicago Bulls on Opening night! WOW! Excited much. :-)

  29. Pete Medina says:

    This year is probably going to be the best one the NBA’s seen in years. With a terrific off-season for many teams. Also with Golden State, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, and many other teams mixing up their rosters many teams are looking for a come up. Like players such as Derrick Rose missing a full year and a half, he is looking to make a huge return. I can’t wait to see mainly my favorite player Derrick Rose play love that guy. Another thing I can’t wait to see is Howard show off his skills in Houston. The NBA is going to be exciting this up coming year!

  30. Caio says:

    And melo? for me melo is the 3rd in this race

  31. potzo says:

    Hello,

    I’m sorry but have you heard of a guy named Tony Parker. I know is french (so am i), but last year he deserved to be in front of Chris Paul for the allnba 1st team. He played much better than him.

    In my opinion he was the 3rd best player in the NBA,

    But i’m okay with Lebron James and KD.

  32. Karol says:

    I stopped reading when I read Dwight Howard…

  33. Spurs Fan says:

    No love for Tony Parker, huh? He was definitely in the top 3 for the MVP race last season especially after the playoffs.

  34. Grant Balvanz says:

    Before his career is over KD with have at least one championship ring and at least one MVP.

  35. Keon R. says:

    I don’t see how Lebron doesn’t get it. The voters seem to love D. Rose though. An elite season from him might net him the MVP award again. http://bit.ly/19vM34g

  36. TeeTeeWeezy says:

    I like that idea….

  37. Sam says:

    I hate when reports do this, HOW DO U PICK AN MVP BEFORE THE SEASON STARTS?? The media puts in our heads that these guys are top contenders before they even do anything. MVP candidates talk should start after the all-star break not before training camp starts.

    • Sit Down says:

      Calm down, you don’t have to read it, its just their opinions and guess, you have every right to disagree but it is completely unnecessary to flame them, its their job to make articles and why not predict the top contenders for MVP.

  38. m.w.a bulls1 says:

    One could argue D. Rose is still the MVP of the league. With no disrespect to Legirl, I’m sorry, Lebron, Rose was dethroned only by injury, not by a peer. Never question a kid who asks “why can’t I be MVP”, then goes out and do it. So if he tells everyone “I’m the best player in the game”, then you better damn well believe he’ll at least go out and prove it. His quest to prove being the best player will net him MVP numbers. BELIEVE THAT.

    • U a foo says:

      You are an idiot haha first, the only reason rose stole that MVP off lebron it was cuz of the decision and he had just moved to Miami, lebron still put up better numbers than him and that’s a fact you fool. The next year the bulls sti had the best record in the east and a top defensive team without rosé which only shows thibs and his defensive team success was more of a reason for his MVP than actual individual impact.

      • josh says:

        cannot agree with you more. I hate it when people claim that d-rose will come back in and will automatically be back in his “mvp” form, which he was given and didn’t earn. as far as I’m concerned until the bulls beat the heat and d-rose defeats LeBron, he is not the best player in the league.

      • dorian says:

        No no no no rose was posting 25 nd 8 Bron had 26 6 n 6 so u were wrong on tht buddy

      • Jojo Lecitona says:

        I couldn’t agree more. U a foo. That award was stolen from LBJ

    • anonymous says:

      Well who just won mvp and finals mvp two years in a row? Good luck rose, you’re gunna need it

    • sick says:

      @m.w.a bulls1 rose is done idiot… and bulls are bunch of scrubs .. Lol

      • Chocolatemilk says:

        Scrubs that broke a 27 game win streak that nobody else could!!! And had Lebron crying cuz they didn’t just roll over for him and let him dunk

  39. Joe says:

    Wow the disrespect to the knicks is crazy.. How you gonna put Rose ahead of Melo when rose hasn’t played in a year and Melo is coming off of one of the best years of his career, not to mention they didn’t mention Jr. as a 6th man candidate and he won it last season.

    • jOLAN says:

      because melo doesn’t play d. IF he spent more then one game with some focus on defense he would get more looks for mvp

      • The Beard says:

        Because Rose already won an MVP award his third year in the NBA, while Melo is still trying to figure out how to score 20 points on less than 30 shots…

    • anonymous says:

      Jr and melo only SHOOT. thats all they learned growing up. They do not make their teammates better, and if anything, make them hesitant to shoot. Melo does not deserve mvp because he scores points, tons of players score. Durant is a better player imo than melo

      • chigchig says:

        He makes the Knicks unquestionably better does he not?
        When he is on the floor they contend, when he is not they are rubbish.. that makes him an mvp candidate.. you using Durant who is the 2nd best player in the league to compare him to just shows he should be in the talk

  40. trey says:

    Lebron of course unless the fans face voting fatigue.

    • Sit Down says:

      Fans have no say and do NOT get to vote on who becomes MVP.

      • AM says:

        Of course they get a vote. Fans can vote and all votes count as 1 in the ballot for mvp. But one thing it’s true, that doesn’t matter so much, there are other 120 votes from the media. So the media has to be fatigue of voting LBJ

  41. m.w.a bulls1 says:

    You’re either high or jealous. Which one are you?

  42. bruno says:

    carmelo anthony

  43. Eric Skinner says:

    Paul George anybody? My favorite player in the NBA hands down. PAUL GEORGE FOR MVP!

  44. ko0kie says:

    “The East will be a beast”.. not sure about that.. except for the top 4 teams (miami, pacers, nets and bulls), there is nothing to be scared of.. the west is still deeper and the race for playoffs seeds will be more interesting than in the east.

    • Sit Down says:

      The top 4 teams in the East that you mentioned can fare pretty well against the West’s own top 4. Whatever order you want them but its probably OKC, Spurs, Clippers, Warriors. I’m hesitant to put Houston in the top 4 because of potential chemistry problems, but top 6 definitely, along with the Grizzlies fighting for 5 or 6. So yea, the East will be a beast, but the West will be a stronger beast.

    • manie says:

      I do think the east will be better. The Celtics will take a step back but The Nets Atlanta Raptors Bulls and Cleveland will all be better

    • justsayin says:

      At least there is a little more parity now.

  45. baller says:

    i think they should have an award called the comeback player of the year.
    nominees: kobe bryant, greg oden, and d-rose

    • Sit Down says:

      That could provoke players to come back too soon and over extend their bodies to the point of another injury or worsening the current or just-healed injury, not something any sport should advocate for.

      • Ur an Idiot says:

        No it honors the dedication to rehabilitation and the success players have if they overcome odds. Look at NFL, Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning last year. It won’t provoke players to come back too early it would give them more motivation to work harder to come back. And in every sport championships are prioritized more then individual awards for 99.9% of competitors

      • justsayin says:

        Or they could man up and take responsibility for their own actions. Not like that award has to be for guys that were injured either. What about resurgent players like Duncan?

    • anonymous says:

      Players could purposely injure themselves or fake an injury, because how many players in the nba actually get recognition? And what type of injury would allow a player to be in the mix for the award?

  46. Brio says:

    MELO will be the MVP for 2013-2014 season…..remember this…..Fran Blindburry…..

  47. Kate Upton says:

    LeBron no question. ( o )( o )

  48. B Radd says:

    That’s Right! Derrick Rose …MVP! No step lossed here!

    • KunJay says:

      That coming out party is over, the only MVP he was going to get he already got. Of course he can still be considered MVP if the Bulls get top seed just like in 2010-11. Everyone knew he wasn’t the best player, he won it because of what the team accomplished. We’ll see how the Bulls fare this year with half the team they had in the 2010-11 season.