We continue our Basketball Insiders MVP discussion with a look at the top performers that are also influencing their respective teams to play winning basketball. Be sure to take a look at the most recent Coach of the Year discussion, rookie rankings and weekly power rankings as well!
#10 – Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs
2013-14 Averages: 17.9 points, 6.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 50.0 percent FG.
Parker has been in and out of the Spurs’ lineup due in part to being banged up, and likely as a precautionary measure as coach Popovich continues to wisely monitor the playing time for each of his aging stars. As recently as last week, Parker delivered a 32-point, nine-assist game in a road win over the Pelicans; proving Parker can still bring it when called upon or necessary.
#9 – John Wall – Washington Wizards
2013-14 Averages: 20.1 points, 8.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 42.5 percent FG
If Wall’s season hasn’t been impressive enough for your liking on the surface, keep in mind his Wizards are one of the few Eastern Conference teams that has been able to stay somewhat afloat to this point. They’ve also beaten the Suns and Warriors on the road, as well as both the Thunder and Blazers all within the last couple weeks.
#8 – Goran Dragic – Phoenix Suns
2013-14 Averages: 20.4 points, 6.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 51.1 percent FG
Hard to imagine at this point, but keep in mind there were plenty of “Should the Suns move Dragic” articles in circulation prior to this year. Rather than looking to move him in favor of a returning Bledsoe (eventually). Dragic has more than shown his worth this year with plenty of signature moments to go along with his steady play.
#7 – James Harden – Houston Rockets
2013-14 Averages: 23.7 points, 5.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 44.7 percent FG
Alongside Dwight Howard, Harden completes the duo for the most free throw attempts by teammates a night in the NBA with 18.2 per contest. While his points per game may have trailed off a bit over the course of the season as the Rockets’ offense balanced out, Harden still proven to be their “go-to” guy down the stretch of games.
#6 – Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers
2013-14 Averages: 23.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 53.7 percent FG
Griffin continues to disprove those that doubt his growth, as the Clippers were able to maintain their position even in Chris Paul’s absence. Clearly, Griffin was a huge part of that, as not only did his scoring increase, but the fourth-year pro also increased his playmaking duties out of necessity.
#5 – LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trail Blazers
2013-14 Averages: 24.1 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 47.0 percent FG
Even though his Blazers are no longer leading the Western Conference outright, they remain just a few games off the top pace in an ever-competitive race to the finish. Aldridges continues to provide the excellent play and leadership their success can at least in some part be attributed to.
#4 – Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
2013-14 Averages: 24.6 points, 9.1 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 45.9 percent FG.
Curry has been nothing short of fantastic for the Warriors this season. Beyond the deadly shooting, he’s continued his overall development and really become one of the more well-rounded young guards in the league. He’s at 29.2 points and 8.2 assists while shooting 55.3 and 48.9 percent from the field and beyond the arc (respectively) over his last five games.
#3 – Paul George – Indiana Pacers
2013-14 Averages: 22.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 44.2 percent FG.
George’s last five games may not have been overly impressive on an individual level, but the fourth-year pro still tends to provide everything his Pacers need, when they need it. Whether it is a much-needed defensive stop, a big shot in a crucial moment, or even the rin-rattling highlight dunk to excite the crowd, George has you covered.
#2 – LeBron James – Miami HEAT
2013-14 Averages: 26.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 57.3 percent FG.
Aside from an off night against the Jazz on Saturday, James has really increased his productivity over the last stretch of games. His HEAT may still be four games (three in loss column) back of the Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings, but James appears to be cranking up his energy and all-around efforts as he is now putting up crooked numbers in several categories with consistency.
#1 – Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
2013-14 Averages: 31.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 51.2 percent FG.
While his consecutive 30-point scoring streak may have recently ended, Durant’s 41 point, 10 rebound, nine assist performance against the Knicks on Sunday was further proof of his absolute dominance this season. His Thunder are 13-2 over their previous 15 games, and have even been without Westbrook for the duration of the stretch.
Next Up –
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers welcomed Paul back on Sunday with their most lopsided victory of the season. Griffin’s excellence in his absence has paced them, but the Clippers will eventually need Paul to return to the MVP-like form that he started the year with if they are to accomplish their goals this season.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets – Howard has been productive of late, averaging 25.2 points and 10.6 rebounds while even shooting 73.5 percent from the charity stripe over his last five games.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves – Frustrations have to be mounting, as not only is Love currently sidelined with a quad contusion, but his Wolves are just 3-7 over their last 10 games even with his 25.6 points, 13.3 rebounds per contest.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks – With the Knicks just 1-4 over their previous five games, it would be a shame to take Anthony out of this conversation altogether. Somehow, they’re still hanging around the Eastern Conference playoff race, as they currently sit just two games out.
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