NBA MVP Ladder: Can Derrick Rose Knock off LeBron James to Win Another MVP?
Derrick Rose took home MVP honors for the 2010-11 season, but will Chicago's star point guard be able to repeat for the 2011-12 campaign?
He's certainly got a shot, but it's not going to be easy.
Kevin Love is playing his heart out for the Timberwolves, Tony Parker continues to lead the Spurs and the Black Mamba continues to lurk in the weeds.
Is there anyone capable of knocking LeBron James out of his top spot?
10. Russell Westbrook, PG Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 3.9 turnovers, 1.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, 47.0 percent shooting
Kevin Durant might command the spotlight for this Thunder team, but Russell Westbrook's contributions certainly shouldn't be overlooked.
He's come out of the gate firing since the All-Star break, picking up right where he left off in the first half of the season, and Westbrook has continued to improve in the shooting department.
Although he still needs to learn to attack the rim more frequently rather than settling for the jumper, Westbrook's speed and athleticism allow him to enjoy great success against his opposition.
9. Andrew Bynum, C Los Angeles Lakers
Stats: 17.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 2.5 turnovers, 0.4 steals, 2.1 blocks, 56.7 percent shooting
The Los Angeles Lakers have had an up and down season, but where would this team be without the strong play of Andrew Bynum?
The big man is averaging career-high marks in both points and rebounds. Most importantly, Bynum hasn't missed a single game this season due to injury.
He's established himself as the second-best center in this league behind Dwight Howard, and his play has prevented his name from popping up in trade rumors, as had been the case previously.
8. Chris Paul, PG Los Angeles Clippers
Stats: 20.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 2.3 turnovers, 2.3 steals, 0.1 blocks, 49.1 percent shooting
Chris Paul has changed the culture of the Los Angeles Clippers team, but "Lob City" has begun to lose its luster of late.
Although his team is struggling to achieve the same success enjoyed previously this season, Paul's play certainly hasn't been to blame for the slide.
CP3 is shooting better than 40 percent from deep, but while his scoring is up to its highest mark since the 2008-09 season, his assists per game have dipped to its lowest mark since his second season in the league.
Paul's going to have to find a better balance to climb further up the ladder.
7. Dwight Howard, C Orlando Magic
Stats: 21.1 points, 15.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 3.3 turnovers, 1.5 steals, 2.2 blocks, 57.3 percent shooting
Dwight Howard doesn't get enough credit for the impact he has on this Orlando Magic team.
While that might be a difficult statement for some to believe, just look at the complementary pieces around him and consider what he's been able to do.
His trade request has grown old, stale and has several overlooking him, but he's absolutely dominating the paint on a regular basis and is showing no signs of slowing down.
6. Tony Parker, PG San Antonio Spurs
Stats: 19.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 2.8 turnovers, 1.1 steals, 0.1 blocks, 47.3 percent shooting
It's not a new trend for the San Antonio Spurs to be overlooked, but Tony Parker's leadership this season shouldn't be discounted in the slightest.
Serving as a focal point of the offense for a team that has been without Manu Ginobili for much of the season, Parker has been out to prove that his name deserves to be mentioned when discussing the top point guards in the game.
It'll be very interesting to see if Parker gets the attention he's earned for the award at season's end, but even if he doesn't, it won't be because he didn't deserve it.
5. Kevin Love, PF Minnesota Timberwolves
Stats: 25.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.6 turnovers, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks, 44.9 percent shooting
Kevin Love is going to have to take on an even larger offensive role without Ricky Rubio available.
In other words, his gaudy statistics have room to further improve.
Although Love could certainly improve on his shot selection, there is no denying the impact he's had this season with dominant performances on a regular basis.
His progression as a player has been incredible to watch, and it's safe to say the T-Wolves are happy with the draft day deal that netted Love in exchange for O.J. Mayo.
4. Derrick Rose, PG Chicago Bulls
Stats: 22.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.9 turnovers, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks, 45.0 percent shooting
Derrick Rose's Chicago Bulls are currently the best team in basketball, and the leadership this 23-year-old demonstrates on the floor is nothing short of amazing.
He's really come on strong since the All-Star break with averages of 25.7 points and 8.8 assists over his last nine games, and it's obvious that his injury concerns are firmly behind him.
Rose has a strong case to claim his second straight MVP if his stellar play continues, but it won't come without obstacles, as there are three superstars standing in his way.
3. Kobe Bryant, SG Los Angeles Lakers
Stats: 28.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 3.8 turnovers, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, 43.5 percent shooting
Kobe Bryant's name is synonymous with "MVP" for Lakers fans—even when he doesn't come home with the award. He's a deserving candidate this season, though.
Still playing at an extraordinarily high level in his 16th season, Bryant has put the Lakers on his back and carried a team that many were projecting to be significantly worse this year.
There has been a lot of talk about hero ball when dissecting Bryant's performance this season, but much of it has been overblown.
It sure seems like his offseason knee surgery has worked out in his favor.
2. Kevin Durant, SF Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 27.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 3.7 turnovers, 1.4 steals, 1.2 steals, 50.2 percent shooting
For reasons unknown, Kevin Durant's spectacular season continues to go widely underappreciated when that simply shouldn't be the case.
Shooting a career-best percentage from the floor while improving his performance on the glass and the defensive end, Durant deserves every bit of praise he's received to date.
Those who still mistakenly think his game is one-dimensional need to reevaluate that stance, because Durant is the definition of a franchise player at just 23 years old.
1. LeBron James, SF Miami Heat
Stats: 27.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 3.5 turnovers, 1.8 steals, 0.9 blocks, 55.2 percent shooting
Some like to nitpick the shortcomings in LeBron James' game, but what he's done on the court this season is something we haven't previously seen from him.
His assists have dipped slightly since January, but he's come out in the second half of the season looking to dominate in the scoring department.
He's shot better than 53 percent every month of the season and has really honed his all-around game. It's scary to think that James hasn't even fully reached his potential as a player.