Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In alphabetical order:
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Here's all you need to know about Stephen Curry's MVP candidacy: In 19 post-All-Star-break games, Curry has averaged 26.1 points, 6.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the floor, 48.1 percent from three-point range and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line.
An ankle sprain suffered on March 23 against the Washington Wizards could be a slight concern, but Curry sounded confident after the game that the injury wasn't severe. He proved it by bouncing back two nights later to play against the Los Angeles Lakers in a game with critical playoff seeding implications.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
With the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks neck-and-neck for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, Paul George deserves at least some recognition in the MVP race. He kept the Pacers afloat offensively with Danny Granger sidelined for most of the season and emerged as a potential breakout star.
George has dealt with a sprained ligament in his left pinkie finger since mid-March, according to the Indianapolis Star, but it hasn't seemed to affect him much. He dropped 19 points in 28 minutes in a 22-point win over the Orlando Magic on March 19, then followed up with 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a 102-78 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks three nights later.
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Even though the Los Angeles Clippers hit a rough patch in March, going 4-4 in the first eight games of the month, I can't drop a player from the MVP rankings who ranks sixth in the league in win shares (9.8) and ties Russell Westbrook for ninth in PER (23.4), according to Basketball Reference.
In only 32.6 minutes per game in March, Griffin has averaged 17.6 points on 55.9 percent shooting, 7.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists. If and when his minutes shoot up in the playoffs, Griffin could easily start posting 20-10-5 a night.
Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
The Miami Heat continue to attract a majority of the attention, but the Denver Nuggets rode a none-too-shabby 15-game win streak of their own until meeting the New Orleans Hornets on March 25. During that streak, point guard Ty Lawson averaged 19.7 points on 50.3 percent shooting and 6.1 assists per game, according to NBA.com/stats.
Lawson missed the Nuggets' three games on March 21, 23 and 25 due to a bruised heel, which could end any chance of him receiving MVP votes if it ends up keeping him out any longer. Otherwise, as long as Denver keeps on winning, Lawson could be a sleeper top-10 MVP candidate heading into the final weeks of the season.
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
The thought of Deron Williams being in the MVP conversation pre-All-Star break was laughable. Brooklyn's $100 million man averaged 16.7 points per game while only shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from three-point range.
Since the All-Star break, Williams has been an entirely different (read: better) player. In the Brooklyn Nets' 17 post-All-Star-break games, he's averaged 23.4 points and 7.9 assists per game, shooting a much more respectable 47.7 percent overall and 44.2 percent from deep.
With Brooklyn making a late charge at one of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference playoffs, Williams deserves a few fringe MVP votes.
Just missed the cut: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
Dropped from rankings: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies (injury)