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NBA MVP 2013: Breaking Down Top Candidates to Bring Home the Hardware

Apr 9, 2013; Miami, FL, USA;  Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) reacts in the first half of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the American Airlines Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IApril 16, 2013

With the 2012-13 NBA season winding down, it's time to break down the top candidates to take home the MVP award.

LeBron James has won the MVP in three of the past four years, and he has a great chance to take home the hardware again this season. The nine-time All-Star has been spectacular once again for the defending champion Miami Heat.

But there are also some other candidates that deserve recognition, including one of the best point guards and one of the best scorers in the league.

Here's a look at my top three MVP candidates for the 2012-13 NBA campaign.

 

3. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul ranks third in PER and win shares this season for the statistically inclined (via Basketball-Reference.com). He's also averaging 17.0 points (ninth among point guards), 9.6 assists (second in the NBA) and 2.4 steals (first in the league) while shooting 48 percent from the floor.

Paul also ranks first in assist-to-turnover ratio among point guards averaging at least 30 minutes per game, via Hoopdata.com. He's led the Clippers to the Pacific Division title.

Any way you slice it, the six-time All-Star has had a phenomenal season.

 

2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant ranks second in PER and win shares this season. He's averaging 28.1 points (second in the NBA), 7.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 51 percent from the field, 41 percent from downtown and 91 percent from the free-throw line.

Durant is also averaging 1.3 blocks and 1.4 steals. In short, he does it all.

The Thunder hold the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, further exemplifying the impact the four-time All-Star has had for the club. 

 

1. LeBron James, Miami Heat

LeBron James leads the NBA in PER and win shares this season. He's widely regarded as the game's best player now and he'll go down as one of the game's greatest players.

James' numbers this season are ridiculous. He's averaging 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting 57 percent from the floor and 41 percent from downtown.

His improvement from beyond the arc is particularly scary. He can already basically get to the rim at will. When he starts hitting shots from downtown with regularity, he becomes more video game character than human...and nearly unstoppable.

If you were to create the perfect basketball player, in terms of being able to do everything, you couldn't do much better than the real-life version of LeBron James.

 

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