NBA MVP 2012: Breaking Down Top Candidates for Prestigious Award

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IMay 2, 2012

The 2012 NBA MVP race is already over. There was one player that distanced himself far ahead of the pack and put forth one of his finest seasons in an already well-decorated career.

I’m sure you have more than a good idea of who that superstar is, but we’ll keep it suspenseful and reveal it at the end.

Without further ado, here are the top MVP candidates from the 2011-12 season in reverse order.

 

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo

Love definitely deserves some credit for—along with Ricky Rubio—helping turn the Timberwolves into a respectable team. Unfortunately, things went south after the rookie PG went down for the year and the franchise decided to shut the PF down and tank.

Rondo weathered incessant trade chatter from the offseason up until the deadline and still managed to string together a hell of a campaign. He led the league in assists and revitalized the Celtics in the second half of the season, but their record wasn’t good enough to warrant true consideration for the young star. His time will come eventually.

 

5. Tony Parker

The San Antonio Spurs tied with the Chicago Bulls for the best record in the NBA. A lot of that credit goes to Gregg Popovich—who just won the Coach of the Year award for his efforts—but Parker had a sneaky great outing.

In 60 games, the French floor general averaged 18.3 PPG, 7.7 APG, 2.9 RPG and 1.0 SPG while shooting 48 percent from the field.

He was the motor that kept the Spurs chugging along this season, even when they were resting key players like Tim Duncan and dealing with injuries to Manu Ginobili.

 

4. Kobe Bryant

The Black Mamba spent a lot of offseason time in Germany receiving experimental treatments for mounting knee injuries, he suffered a torn ligament in his wrist early in the year, had his nose broke during the All-Star game and still kept plugging along.

He didn’t miss an extended stretch of games until a shin injury sidelined him towards the end of the campaign.

Despite the fact that some ailment or another hindered Kobe for most of the Lakers' season, Kobe averaged an extremely impressive 27.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.6 APG and 1.2 SPG while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 30.3 percent from deep.

The 33-year-old, 16-year NBA veteran deserves MVP credit for keeping the Lakers in contention despite his age and uphill battles.

 

3. Chris Paul

CP3 revitalized the Los Angeles Clippers after offseason trade drama that nearly had him going to the Lakers before the league vetoed the deal.

The Clips wisely sacrificed a ton of young parts to acquire the proven pure point guard and have been rewarded handsomely for their risk.

Paul instantly clicked with Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the roster, aptly earning the nickname of “Lob City.”

His individual numbers aren’t that outstanding—19.8 PPG, 9.1 APG, 3.6 RPG, 2.5 SPG while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 37.1 from beyond the arc—but the way he changed the culture for his new team is remarkable.

The Clippers won just 32 games in 2010-11 and have not made the postseason since 2006. CP3 led them to 40 wins in a strike-shortened season and makes them true contenders for a championship.

For doing that, the prolific passing point guard wins the bronze MVP medal (if there were one to give out).

 

Runner-Up: Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City’s superstar swingman won his third scoring title in a row. That is a feat that has not been accomplished since Michael Jordan did it from 1996-1998.

Durant accomplished this by putting up 28.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.3 SPG and 1.2 BPG while shooting a whopping 49.6 percent from the field and 38.7 from three-point land. He did not miss a single game.

KD was the leader on a team that won 47 games and earned a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

If it weren’t for this next guy, KD35 was without a doubt bound to win his first of potentially many MVP awards.

 

Winner: LeBron James

No one had a finer 2011-12 season than King James.  The two-time NBA MVP is definitely adding a third piece of hardware to his mantle when they announce this year’s winner.

LBJ averaged 27.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG. He put up those ludicrous numbers while nailing 53.1 percent of attempts from the field and 36.2 percent from deep.

James didn’t miss a single game during the season and averaged 37.5 minutes for a team that needed him on the floor as much as possible due to their lack of depth.

It would be absolutely inane for LeBron not to garner his historic third MVP award after what he accomplished this season.

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