It’s the time of the year in the NBA where the M.V.P. talk starts. For some reason this has been the week where everyone who supported Russell Westbrook earlier in the season have now turned their backs on him and are looking for other candidates for M.V.P. The other names that keep coming up are James Harden, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. So let’s take a look and see how these players match up.
Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder are 35-29 and currently holding on to the 7th spot in the Western Conference. In 64 games Westbrook averages 32.1 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game and 10 assists per game. Westbrook is the leagues leading scorer and he is 3rd in assists he is also 12th in rebounding, but remember he’s a point guard. That’s right Westbrook is averaging a triple-double per game so far this season. The last player to average a triple-double in a season was Oscar Robertson who did in during the 1961-62 season for the Cincinnati Royals.
Harden’s Houston Rockets are 44-20 and are currently in 3rd place in the Western Conference. In 64 games Harden is averaging 29 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game and 11.5 assists per game. Harden is the leagues 2nd leading scorer and is leading the NBA in assists. Harden is tied for 25th in rebounding.
James’ Cleveland Cavaliers are the top team in the Eastern Conference with a record of 42-20. James has played in 57 games this season and is averaging 26 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game and 8.8 assists per game. James is the leagues 8th leading scorer. He is 4th in the league is assists and is tied for 22nd in rebounding.
Leonard’s San Antonio Spurs are 49-13 and in 2nd place in the Western Conference. Leonard averages 26.3 points per game, 3.4 assists per game and 6 rebounds a game. Leonard is the leagues 7th leading scorer. He is tied for 53rd in assists and is tied for 60th in rebounding. I’m sure you’ve noticed that with the exception of scoring Leonard’s stats don’t compare top the other M.V.P. candidates. While that may be the case Leonard is far and away the best defensive player out of the four candidates; so that should help his M.V.P. case.
Now it looks as even if Westbrook puts up the best numbers he’s not going to win the M.V.P. award and that’s even if he averages a triple-double. Since Oklahoma City isn’t really considered a threat to win the NBA title that will hurt Westbrook’s case even though it’s a regular season award. I’m not sold on the Rockets being a title contender either, but the team is much improved this season and Harden is being given the credit for that. I’m not sure why James is even in this conversation. Most people still consider him the best player in the NBA ; so I’m guessing that’s why his name keeps coming up, but he doesn’t deserve to win this award. Leonard is kind of a sleeper pick at this point, but he’s gained some support lately. San Antonio is always a title contender, but I’m not sure that Leonard’s stats are M.V.P. worthy especially when you compare him to the other candidates.
If I had a vote which I don’t I’d cast mine for Westbrook. What he’s doing is historic. Harden would be 2nd on my ballot with Leonard 3rd and James a distant 4th. When it’s all said and done look for Harden to walk away with the M.V.P. award when the voting comes out.
The Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 122-111 last night. Neither team is going to make the playoffs this season; so the importance of this game was would Dirk Nowitzki break the 30,000 point mark for his career in this game. Nowitzki came into the game needing 20 points to reach the 30,000 point mark. With 10:58 left in the 2nd quarter Nowitzki hit a jumper to reach the scoring milestone. Nowitzki became just the 6th player to reach the 30,000 point milestone. The other player to reach that mark are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain. Nowitzki is in his 19th season and has said he plans on returning for a 20th; all with the Mavericks.
Nowitzki has played in 1377 career games. For his career he averages 21.8 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game. Nowitzki is a 13 time All-Star, he was the M.V.P. for the 2006-07 season and was the finals M.V.P. in 2011 when the Mavericks won their only title over the Miami Heat, Dallas made the finals in the 2006-07 season, but lost to the Heat in the finals. Nowitzki is a sure bet to make the basketball Hall of Fame when his career is over. Don’t forget that Nowitzki was actually drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 9th pick in the 1998 draft. Nowitzki and Pat Garrity where traded to Dallas for Robert “Tractor” Traylor on draft night. Dallas had taken Traylor with the 6th pick of the draft.
NFL free agents can’t officially sign with teams until 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. Of course that isn’t going to stop reports from coming out on who’s going to go where. The first such report that came out has Brandon Marshall staying in New York, but moving from the Jets to the Giants. It’s being reported that Marshall will sign a two year $12 million dollar deal to join the Giants. Marshall had hoped that the Jets would grant him his release and they did saving $7.5 million dollars on their salary cap. There was some talk that the Jets and Marshall engaged in contract extension talks, but in the end the two sides parted ways. The Jets didn’t look for any type of trade for Marshall as the team considered it a “long shot” on getting a deal done. Marshall spent two seasons with the Jets with his first one being much more productive than his second one. Of course quarterback play has a lot to do with how a wide receiver is going to do and the Jets didn’t have very good quarterback play last season. Marshall should be a good fit for the second receiver slot behind Odell Beckham Jr. in the Giants offense. Marshall also gives Giants quarterback Eli Manning another target to throw to. With the release of Victor Cruz the Giants have found a solid veteran replacement for that wide receiver position. Of course by staying in New York Marshall will also be able to continue to do Inside the NFL.
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