Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
In alphabetical order:
Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks
Chandler earns his first MVP honorable mention of the year for shooting a league-best 70 percent from the field and scoring a career-high 12.8 points on only 6.7 shot attempts per game.
He's been the 10th best post-up defender in the league, according to Synergy Sports (subscription required), but won't climb much higher in these rankings until the Knicks' defense tightens up. The team currently sports the 16th best defensive efficiency in the league.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Curry went on an absolute tear in the Warriors' three games from Dec. 19-22, dropping a combined 79 points, 19 assists, 18 three-pointers, 17 rebounds, five steals and three blocks with only 10 turnovers.
On the season, he's averaging 20.2 points, 6.4 dimes, 4.3 boards and 1.6 steals per game, proving why Golden State handed him an extension despite the ankle problems he had in 2011-12. He's only in the honorable mentions because a teammate of his edges him out for a top-10 spot.
O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks
Mayo drops to the honorable mentions this week after going 9-of-33 from the field and 1-of-11 from three-point range in the Mavericks' three straight losses from Dec. 20-23.
He kept the Mavericks competitive with Dirk Nowitzki sidelined by injury, but Nowitzki finally made his season debut on Dec. 23 against the San Antonio Spurs. Mayo and Nowitzki need time to develop chemistry, which could sabotage Mayo's MVP credentials for the time being.
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Rondo remains the only point guard in the league averaging over 10 assists per game—he was averaging 12.2 heading into Christmas Day—which merits an MVP honorable mention, no matter the Celtics' record.
His poor three-point and free-throw shooting holds him back from being a legitimate MVP candidate, though, especially if the Celtics hover around .500 all season.
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
Josh Smith recovered from his worst game of the season against Golden State on Dec. 15 with 17 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks and three steals against the league-worst Washington Wizards on Dec. 18.
He's averaging 16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.4 steals per game on the season, pleasing his fantasy basketball owners more than ever.
Smith's three-point shooting cooled off in the week before Christmas, however, as he only hit 2-of-9 of his attempts from downtown in the Hawks' four games from Dec. 18-22.
Dropped from rankings: Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers; Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Just missed the cut: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs