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Beyond the Arc's Race to the MVP

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Beyond the Arc's Race to the MVP
In this edition of Beyond the Arc's Race to the MVP, I'd like to focus your attention on Steve Nash. Ever so often you have that savvy league veteran who never appears to be on the decline. Last year, it seemed pretty evident Nash was not that player, but he has certainly opened up some eyes this year, as he's off to a hot start with the Suns who are rolling right along with the second best record in the league.

Another interesting topic of concern are the Milwaukee Bucks led by their rookie sensation, Brandon Jennings. He's playing like a true leader and was not afraid to step up when Redd went down with his injury. But one thing that can't be overlooked is that Scott Skiles has a proven record of getting the most out of journeymen and young players. He took a Bulls team that hadn't won more than 30 games in eight years and got them 47 wins in his first full season coaching them. The team didn't go under .500 until he was fired in a year that involved a lot of bad attitudes and his players' unwillingness to listen, among other troubles.

I'm sure the Bucks offense will get better when Redd comes back because they do struggle to score when they don't go to Bogut or Jennings, but the schedule will get more challenging as well.

The regulars, Kobe, LeBron and Wade look poised to have another great year and should remain at the top of the race. It's no secret when you hear people say they are the best of the best. But joining those three is Carmelo Anthony, someone ready to make his case as the league's elite. Entering his seventh year in the league, Melo's out to prove why he's as good as they come, averaging career highs in most major statistical categories.

With no further adieu, allow me to introduce to you this week's edition of Race to the MVP brought to you by BTA Basketball.

1. Kobe Bryant, Lakers (7-1)
G   MPG   PPG    RPG   APG   SPG   BPG    FG%   3P%    FT%
8   38.5   33.0   5.5    2.8    2.2    0.2    .500    .200    .840
Last Week's Rank—3
Kobe's playing like he did in 2005, but the only difference is his intelligence with the ball. He's methodical in his attack, picks his spots and attacks any defensive flaw. It's truly amazing to watch. Granted, his game against Denver wasn't all that great, but he has played great basketball the past few weeks and fully deserves to be on top of this week's MVP race.

2. Steve Nash, Suns (8-2)
G    MPG    PPG    RPG    APG    SPG    BPG    FG%    3P%    FT%
10   32.3   17.1    2.4    11.8    0.1     0.3    .539     .500    .931
Last Week's Rank—6
Nash is playing the best basketball we've seen him play in a long time. Put the ball back in Nash's hands and speed up the tempo, and all of a sudden he's looking like the Nash of old (or rather the Nash of his MVP seasons). As it stands, he's poised to be only the fourth player in NBA history to notch five 10-plus assist seasons. With already two 20-point/20-assist games, Nash has inserted himself into the second best point guard spot with a vengeance.

3. Dwyane Wade, Heat (6-2)
G    MPG    PPG    RPG    APG    SPG    BPG    FG%    3P%    FT%
8    38.1    30.6    4.1    4.9     1.6     0.9    .450     .258    .783
Last Week's Rank—4
What hasn't The Flash done to not put him in the top three of this week's MVP Race? He's hit game-winners, he's throwing down monsterous dunks, and he's putting up tremendous numbers. Not bad for a guy carrying this Heat squad to a 6-2 record.

4. Paul Pierce, Celtics (8-1)
G    MPG    PPG    RPG    APG    SPG    BPG    FG%    3P%    FT%
9    34.3    18.1   5.1     4.3     1.4     0.3     .515    .528    .864
Last Week's Rank—2
I'm sticking with the argument stating the best player on the best team deserves to be in the MVP discussion. Paul Pierce is shooting so efficiently that he's not making mistakes with the ball and is closing out games. It was only a matter of time before the Celtics started to lose a few games here and there, but they still remain at the top of the NBA.

5. LeBron James, Cavaliers (6-3)
G   MPG   PPG    RPG    APG    SPG    BPG    FG%    3P%    FT%
9   38.1   28.2   7.3     7.4     1.7     0.8     .509    .400    .766
Last Week's Rank—10
Let's be honest, who here thought LeBron would stay at the bottom of the MVP Race? The Chosen One has answered all questions this past week, all except where he's going to play next season. He's putting up numbers, the Cavs are climbing back into the Eastern Conference's Elite, and he's leading them to a four-game win streak.

6. Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets (6-3)
G    MPG    PPG    RPG    APG    SPG    BPG    FG%   3P%   FT%
9    36.9    30.2    6.6    2.9     1.6     0.4     .435   .375   .848
Last Week's Rank—1
The Nuggets' luck is running out, and they're currently looking at a 6-3 record and fifth in the Western Conference. They did look great against the Lakers last night, but this past week hasn't been anywhere close to what we expected. His numbers are up, but he hasn't been able to deliver wins.

7. Brandon Roy, Blazers (6-3)
G   MPG    PPG    RPG   APG    SPG    BPG    FG%    3P%    FT%
9   35.4    20.8   3.9    5.1     0.4     0.3    .444     .324    .838
Last Week's Rank—N/A
Roy's numbers generally do not fall under the category of "spectacular" and he doesn't look flashy with the ball on every play, but he's the clear cut leader of a team currently on a three-game win streak. I fully expect his numbers to take a turn for the better as he enters an easy portion of the Blazers schedule, which most likely will result in a higher ranking next week.

8. Brandon Jennings (5-2)
G   MPG   PPG   RPG   APG   SPG    BPG    FG%    3P%    FT%
7   32.7   20.7   4.3   5.2    1.3     0.0    .457     .455    .857
Last Week's Rank—N/A
This team is not being talked about at all, and they are playing surprisingly well without their star Michael Redd. They are 4-2, Brandon Jennings is absolutely ballin', and although the Bucks have not had the hardest schedule, they did beat a tough Denver team. If they play like they're doing now, playoffs are a legitimate goal for this team. "Young Money" is playing like a veteran. No one ever expected him to be in this Race, but he fully deserves to be mentioned here. This looks like a great season for fans of the underdog story. Hopefully, the Bucks can avoid injuries, particularly to Jennings and Bogut, and keep stringing the wins together.

9. Chris Bosh, Raptors (4-4)
G   MPG   PPG   RPG   APG   SPG   BPG   FG%   3P%   FT%
8   35.8   28.9  1.5    1.8    0.8    1.0    .507   1.00   .781
Last Week's Rank—9
Bosh is the best Power Forward in the game right now. Don't let the record fool you, this man plays his heart out every single game. He's an absolute monster on the glass, he's racking up points in bunches, and is clearly the most prominent player in the offense.

10. Dwight Howard, Magic (6-3)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
9 31.2 18.4 10.6 1.4 0.8 1.4 .647 --- .629
Last Week's Rank—5
This is not the Superman we're accustomed to seeing. He's getting in foul trouble way too early in games, and he just looks out of sync in the offense. But the Magic are winning games, and Dwight is looking in on another 20-10 year. He's slowly getting back into the swing of things as he displayed some fine, Dwight-esque numbers the other night against the Nets, 26 points and 12 rebounds en route to a victory.

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