First up is the MVP race. This one is pretty much already determined, it is LeBron James' to lose.
LeBron is leading the league in scoring with 28.5 points per game while also collecting 8 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists a game. All of that while leading the Cavs to a 40-11 record including a franchise best 23 game home winning streak.
LeBron has had a great carry over from this past Summer's Olympic Gold Medal win and has taken his game to another level. His shooting has improved but most importantly, he has became one of the top lock down defenders in the NBA. He has the speed to cover a guard and the strength to cover a forward. He is averaging almost 2 steals a game and a little over a block a game.
Bill Simmons summed up LeBron better than anyone I have read:
There are a few other players who could lay claim to the award should LeBron just fall off the second half of the season.
- Kobe Bryant - Kobe has seemed to change his game this season as well. Kobe can still go for 30 points on any given night but this season Kobe has dedicated himself to taking the other teams best guard and shutting them down. Kobe is averaging his lowest point total, 27.7 per game, since 2003-2004 when he averaged 24 a game but with the improved play of Andrew Bynum before the injury and consistent inside presence of Pau Gasol, Kobe has been able to be more of a distributor and lock down defender. Kobe is second right now in the MVP but not by as far as you might think.
- Chris Paul - Chris Paul was my preseason pick to win the award and while he certainly hasn't done anything to not merit the award, LeBron has just played that much better. Paul is averaging 21 points and a league leading 11 assists and 3 steals a game. The Hornets may only be 30-20 this season but that is no fault of Paul. In the 5 games that Paul missed due to injury, the Hornets looked awful, especially at the point guard position. Chris Paul is just as valuable to the success of the Hornets as LeBron is to the Cavs, LeBron has just better numbers.
- Tim Duncan - Duncan kept the Spurs a float earlier this season when Manu and Tony Parker went down with injuries. Duncan is averaging his usual 21 points and 11 rebounds which he has done every single season he has been in the NBA. Duncan is by far the greatest power forward to play the game and his play this season really has been MVP caliber.
- Dwayne Wade - Dwayne Wade's play this season has reminded us more of Flash the Finals MVP rather than the injured Dwayne Wade of last year. Wade was the Olympic MVP in my book and this season he is averaging a career high 28 points per game, 7 assists per game, and 5 rebounds. Add to that 2 steals and 1 block a game, and Wade is playing like a mad man and has the Heat in position to host a first round playoff series. Sure Wade doesn't shoot a great percentage from the three point line (28%) and he tends to turn the ball over a lot (3.5 a game) but other than that, Wade is playing his best basketball since his Championship run.