Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
In alphabetical order:
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
A night after getting tossed around by Indiana's Roy Hibbert, Stephen Curry captivated the NBA world by dropping 54 points at Madison Square Garden in a loss to the New York Knicks.
He's guided the Golden State Warriors to the sixth-best record in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, averaging 22.1 points, 6.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game this season. Of any player in the Honorable Mentions, Curry is the most likely to move into the top 10 next week.
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
With Tony Parker's ankle injury likely knocking him out for almost all of March, Tim Duncan will need to step up as the San Antonio Spurs' backbone to stave off the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That apparently won't be much of a problem for Duncan, who finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and five blocks in only 26 minutes against the Detroit Pistons in the Spurs' first Parker-less game. He's still only averaging around 30 minutes per game, but he's been utterly dominant while on the court this season.
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
It's easy to look at Blake Griffin averaging the lowest per-game stats of his career and write him off in the MVP race, but to do so would be a disservice to his improvement this season.
He's only averaging 32.4 minutes per game this season, which makes his 18.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game rather impressive. He's also shooting career highs from 3-9 feet (46.7 percent), 10-15 feet (38.3 percent) and 16-23 feet (38 percent), according to HoopData, for a Los Angeles Clippers team with one of the three best records in the Western Conference.
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
Joakim Noah earns some long overdue MVP credit this week for keeping the Chicago Bulls afloat in a Derrick Rose-less season. With fellow All-Star Luol Deng and former All-Star Carlos Boozer, Noah has helped guide the Bulls to a 34-26 record, tied with the Brooklyn Nets for fourth in the Eastern Conference.
Noah's 23-point, 21-rebound, 11-block tour de force against the Philadelphia 76ers on the final day of February earns him the Honorable Mention this week, but following up with 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in a 96-85 win against the Nets on March 2 wasn't too shabby of an encore.
Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies
Before spraining his ankle on March 1 against the Miami Heat, Zach Randolph was riding a streak of five straight double-doubles. With 35 double-doubles on the season, he trails only David Lee of the Golden State Warriors in that category, according to ESPN.com.
The ankle kept Randolph sidelined against the Orlando Magic on March 3, and he's questionable for a March 6 matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers. If the injury keeps Z-Bo shelved for long, he'll likely be replaced in next week's MVP Honorable Mentions, no matter how hot the Memphis Grizzlies have been.
Just missed the cut: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks; Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz
Dropped from rankings: Rudy Gay, Toronto Raptors