NBA Free Agency Tracker

Report: Melo to Return to NYK

Behind the Arc: Race to the MVP Week 2

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Behind the Arc: Race to the MVP Week 2
Welcome back to yet another exciting Race to the MVP, presented to you by Beyond the Arc Basketball.
I'd like to talk about the Milwaukee Bucks, and more importantly, the player everyone has their eyes on: Brandon Jennings. The kid is still rolling through the league with a head of steam, leading this underdog Bucks to the best record in the Central Division.
Jennings is leading all rookies with just under 25 points per game to go along with nearly six assists and five rebounds per game. On top of that, he's shooting a respectable 47.7 percent from the field and is connecting on over half of his three-point attempts, proving wrong the critics who said the range on his shot was weak.
However, questions still linger as to whether the Bucks can keep it up and if Jennings can keep playing at a high level.
A few issues stand in their way. First of all, will Jennings hit the rookie wall? It's a common fear for first-year players who have never played this many games in a season before. Can Jennings’ body handle the rigors of the NBA after playing 40 or 50 games? Only time will tell if Jennings can fight fatigue better than his fellow freshmen.

Look out! The Thunder are playing solid basketball right now, and Kevin Durant is on the verge of getting some MVP consideration. 

The kid impresses the hell out of me. He's an excellent shooter, but his shot really isn't falling right now—yet he is still dropping in 27 a game, getting to the line, and getting it done. I think he has a great unselfish attitude, can be a good leader, and will only get better. His numbers are already elite, and I believe he is on the edge of becoming a true superstar. You OKC fans have got something special, so enjoy it.

I want to dedicate a small portion of my time to a former MVP and a sure Hall of Famer, Allen Iverson. He needs to realize the league is moving away from the one-man show offense.
This is not a league full of teams relying on one player to do everything. Say what you like, but even LeBron James relies on his teammates to score, hence his high assist averages.
Allen has all the talent in the world but is too accustomed to being the star of the team. I would love to see him end his career on a good note, preferably signing with a title contender to assure him a ring in his career. The future of this once great superstar looks very dark.
Well that does it for my weekly rant, now onto the list.

1. Kobe Bryant: Lakers (10-3)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
12 38.1 30.2 5.2 2.8 3.3 0.2 .474 .192 .861
Last Week's Rank—1
The recharged Los Angeles Lakers powered by their captain, Kobe Bryant, are looking great. With a healthy Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, this offense looks dominant, scoring from all cylinders—but that has not stopped Kobe from playing at a superstar level. He's leading the league in scoring, shooting a respectable percentage from the field, and is making good decisions on the floor.

2. Joe Johnson: Hawks (10-2)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
12 37.9 23.6 5.3 4.7 0.8 0.1 .464 .345 .870
Last Week's Rank—N/A
The most underrated player in the league will soon be known as a sure MVP candidate if he keeps playing like this. What hasn't he done? He's scoring at will, shooting at an extremely efficient percent from the field, making plays for his teammates, and is playing like a true leader. The Hawks are slowly sliding into the company of the Eastern Conference's elite.

3. Steve Nash: Suns (10-3)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
13 33.3 16.8 2.6 11.8 0.2 0.2 .506 .440 .929
Last Week's Rank—2
Nash remains the best point guard in the game currently due to Chris Paul's injury. His impressive numbers still remain afloat, the Suns are still amongst the best teams in the league, and Nash is surely a huge part of it. He's playing at such a high level, and, just a few days ago against Houston, he exploded for 16 assists, keeping his assist averages at the top of the league.

4. Dirk Nowitzki: Mavericks (9-3)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
12 38.5 27.3 9.3 2.6 1.1 1.6 .447 .364 .902
Last Week's Rank—N/A
This past week proves why Dirk has not lost a step in his game since winning the MVP title a few years ago. He's willing to give up shots and save a bit of energy for important stretches of games. Nowitzki is playing the best basketball of his life right now, and this past week he was incredible—because of intangibles, not because of his box scores. His effort on defense has drastically improved, almost to the point where he is not considered a one-sided player.

5. Carmelo Anthony: Nuggets (8-3)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
11 35.6 29.9 5.8 3.0 1.6 0.4 .468 .360 .847
Last Week's Rank—6
Melo has been a beast so far to start off the season. Sure, his season-opening dunk over Milsap left us all in awe, not to mention the 19 points in the fourth quarter during the game against Portland to seal the deal. However, he continues to get better on D, rebounds at a solid rate, averages three assists per game, and, like George Karl and Chauncey Billups have said, he's become a more mature team leader.

6. LeBron James: Cavaliers (8-4)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
12 37.8 28.3 6.6 8.1 1.7 0.8 .516 .364 .774
Last Week's Rank—5
The highly anticipated return of LeBron James to the top of this list will have to wait...for another week at the very least. He's putting up MVP numbers, his assist averages for a SF are unprecedented, and, most importantly, he's still shooting with accuracy. He's evolving into the complete player we all thought he would be, but the Cavaliers have yet to back him up. The Delonte West saga is still continuing as he remains in and out of the line up, Shaq has been injured, and most of his role players are not consistently playing up to standards.

7. Dwyane Wade: Heat (7-4)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
11 38.6 27.6 4.8 5.2 2.1 1.2 .431 .267 .772
Last Week's Rank—3
Miami has lost two out of the last three games and are looking terrible on defense. Luckily, Dwyane Wade managed to hit a spectacular three-pointer to keep the Nets winless, something that is very routine down in Miami. Wade is running the show, and that's exactly what a MVP does.

8. Brandon Roy: Blazers (9-4)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
13 36.7 20.3 4.8 5.1 0.3 0.2 .448 .370 .830
Last Week's Rank—7
To a degree, he hasn't been playing up to our normal expectations. He seems less confident on his drives right now, and, at times, I sense he's struggling with whether to take over or to defer to others. The guy can still have a slow start, and then you'll look up at the board and three out of four times he'll have 16 points, three rebounds, and four assists. Sooner or later, the team is going to gel completely, or he'll just decide to take over more often. Nothing to worry about here.

9. Paul Pierce: Celtics (9-3)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
12 34.5 18.4 4.8 3.9 1.2 0.3 .511 .478 .809
Last Week's Rank—4
His numbers still remain above average, and his shooting is still stellar, but the Celtics are dropping. They haven't looked fresh out there—the Celtics are doing just what most people thought...aging. There's the lazy Sheed we all know and the OLD Big Three. Right now—and it's early—Rondo and Pierce look like the Big Two.

10. Brandon Jennings: Bucks (6-3)
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
9 34.8 24.8 5.8 4.7 1.1 0.2 .477 .558 .786
Last Week's Rank—8
How can a rookie be on this list for two weeks running? It's simple: When that rookie explodes for 55 points, the highest point total in a game this season, you know he deserves it. This kid is just unbelievable: His shooting is great, his maturity on the court is above that of a sophomore, and his decision-making and overall court presence is phenomenal.
Load More Stories
NBA

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.