After witnessing the Mavericks make a run and everybody clearly acknowledging that the Mavericks are favored to win the West, the Nuggets followed-up with a six-game win streak, highlighted by their sixth straight, 100-point performance.
In each of those games, Carmelo Anthony played spectacularly for the Nuggets.
In fact, in the last eight games, the Nuggets have a record of 7-1. Anthony has the Nuggets soaring high and in contention to take the top spot from the Lakers. Over that stretch Anthony has accumulated 30.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists—all above his season averages.
Carmelo has done it all season by adding a different dimension to this Nugget offense.
First he likes to create space. Creating space enables him to see his attack before it develops. More often than not, he is looking to put the ball on the floor and work into the defense. This explains his rise in free-throw attempts—Anthony is averaging just fewer than 10 attempts a game.
Secondly, he loves to shoot the basketball. His comfort spot is usually on the right side of the court—just inside the three-point arc. But do not forget, he has the shooting ability to light it up from anywhere.
Lastly, his defense has picked up. Just four games ago, Anthony finished with five steals against Minnesota, showing you he has asserted himself on the defensive side of the ball more, as he has done on the offensive side of the ball.
Being over-shadowed by LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, the thought of an MVP season is more improbable than not.
However, the belief of an MVP season is not out of sight.
After witnessing two frontier players in Birdman and Martin drop to injuries, Anthony has taken over the load on the defensive glass, acquiring three double-doubles with points and rebounds.
This shows his importance to the team, because when frontier players are absent, you can rely on Carmelo to pick up their slack. And over these past games, this is exactly what he has done.
That is not enough to put him as the front-runner for MVP. To overwhelm the voters that are heavily favoring James, Wade, and Bryant, Anthony needs to continue his dominance over the season. In my books, the MVP race goes like this: James, Bryant, and then Carmelo.
My reasoning is simple: This season, Carmelo has only eight double-doubles and has yet to grasp a triple-double. This pushes his MVP stock down, but it’s nothing he cannot overcome down the stretch.
With the Nuggets four games behind the Lakers, Anthony will definitely have his opportunities to amaze voters—so it’s certainly an attainable affair.
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