NBA MVP Race 2010: This Is the Year of the Point Guard
As of today, four of the top five Most Valuable Player candidates in the NBA are elite point guards: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo. The other candidate is probably the favorite at this point—forward Kevin Durant.
Each of these point guards have led their teams to near impeccable records, among the NBA's elite, and they are statistically dominant.
Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics currently leads the NBA in assists-per-game at 15.1, and the next highest player is Jason Kidd at 10.5 per game. Rondo is distributing the basketball at a rate that is unprecedented in NBA history.
Granted, Rondo has some very talented teammates, but nobody is nearly as efficient. The Celtics stand at 8-2 and have defeated the "great" Miami Heat twice already. The biggest knack on Rondo has been his ability to shoot and knock down his free throws, but his ability to rack up assists is what makes him an MVP candidate.
Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets is the catalyst on the only undefeated team left in the NBA (8-0). Paul is averaging 17 points-per-game, 10.3 assists-per-game and nearly three steals-per-game at 2.8.
In 2008, Paul led the Hornets to the Western Conference Finals; 2009 was an injury-riddled season for Paul, and the Hornets were a lottery team. Now, healthy, Paul has recaptured the imagination of NBA fans and put himself into the MVP discussion.
Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has put up some mind-blowing numbers to this point and is really opening eyes. The Bulls are 5-3, and the addition of Carlos Boozer has certainly helped them become an overall better team, but it is Rose's development that could make them a championship contender.
He has been the undisputed leader of the Bulls, and that is evidenced by his team leading 23.1 points-per-game and 9.5 assists-per-game. The Bulls are not very deep, and are going to depend on Rose to play a lot of minutes, but he is a well-conditioned athlete, and should be up for the task. He has shown he can be "the guy" who takes the big shot at the end of games, and voters are going to pay attention to that.
Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz has really made a name for himself over the past couple of years, and he has done nothing to change his reputation in 2010. The Jazz have come back from double-digit deficits in the past five games and won. Williams has been a big reason for that.
Williams may not be the leading scorer on the Jazz; Paul Millsap is at 21.9 points-per-game, but Williams is averaging 21.3 points-per-game and 10.1 assists-per-game.
He is doing a great job at setting teammates up and is a big reason for Paul Millsap's 2010 breakout. Williams has been playing nearly 40 minutes a night and has helped lead the Jazz to a 7-3 record. They are looking like one of the two or three best teams in the West, and Williams is the biggest reason for that. He is the undisputed leader of the Jazz and a legitimate MVP candidate.
Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City is probably the favorite for the award, based on his performance and reputation. But this is the year of the point guard. There is no clear reason for this, but it's apparent that there is a new breed of point guards taking over the game, and they're going to be there at the end when the final tallying of the votes is done in April.
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