NBA MVP: Derrick Rose and the Top 5 Candidates

James O'Grady@jimmyogradyContributor IMarch 30, 2011

NBA MVP: Derrick Rose and the Top 5 Candidates

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 25: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls walks to the bench during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center on March 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Grizzlies 99-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly a
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The NBA regular season is almost at a close, and that means the MVP will be announced shortly.

    It's been an outstanding season thus far.

    Derrick Rose has improved out of sight, LeBron James has established himself as a walking triple-double threat despite the company on his team and Dwight Howard's offense is now equal to—if not better than—his defense.

    That being said, who has the most realistic chance to take home the regular-season MVP award?

    This article explores the top five chances for this year's MVP.

5. Kevin Durant

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots a free throw against the Washington Wizards during the first half at the Verizon Center on March 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agre
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Durant is a born scorer with a deadly jump shot from outside, adding to his arsenal that defenders have nightmares about.

    The 22-year-old is having another outstanding season, as we have come to expect from him.

    This year may not be his year in terms of winning the MVP award, but his name is certainly still in the discussion.

    He, alongside Russell Westbrook, is the main reason the Oklahoma City Thunder are poised to make huge noise in the playoffs.

    Durant's season averages: 27.7 PPG; 6.80 RPG.

4. Kobe Bryant

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    DALLAS, TX - MARCH 12:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Center on March 12, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consen
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Arguably, Kobe Bryant is still the best player in the NBA today. That's what the MVP award is—the best player in the NBA today.

    Any time Kobe's name is in the conversation about the NBA's best player, he's always got a legitimate shot at the regular-season MVP.

    That being said, Kobe's minutes have been limited throughout this season.

    He will most likely explode during playoffs for another finals MVP, not the regular-season one.

    Kobe's averages this season: 25.2 PPG; 5.20 RPG; 4.8 APG.

3. Dwight Howard

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Magic defeated the Suns 111-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agre
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Derrick Rose's name may be penciled in for the MVP, but Dwight Howard's stats this season are hard to ignore.

    He is the reason the Magic are a legitimate title threat this season, and that alone is enough reason to consider Howard's name in the MVP discussion.

    Dwight Howard is now undoubtedly the best center in the NBA right now.

    He is the complete defensive package, and now has an improved offensive ability that every team envies. He is averaging 23.2 PPG and 14.3 RPG.

    Howard is a serious shot at the MVP and should not be counted out of the discussion.

2. LeBron James

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    CLEVELAND - MARCH 29:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 29, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    LeBron is clearly capable of winning the MVP award. He has done so before.

    Once again, he has a serious chance of receiving the award, even while playing with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

    James is a legitimate triple-double threat every night, and his stats are indicative of this. He is averaging 26.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 6.8 APG.

    His stats are still incredible, and they increase his chances of taking home the award, due to how impressive he looks on paper.

    LeBron is definitely not the most popular player in the NBA today, but the fan vote in the MVP only counts for a small percentage.

    The only question is, will playing alongside Dwayne Wade be counterproductive towards James' chances?

1. Derrick Rose

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 28: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls reacts to a loss against the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center on March 28, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The 76ers defeated the Bulls 97-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Rose is having his best season of his young career so far. He's averaging 25.0 PPG and 7.9 APG this season—the stats say it all.

    Derrick Rose is the best point guard in the NBA right now.

    He also has the best chance to take home this year's regular-season MVP. His name has been hyped up a lot of late, and it certainly doesn't hurt his chances.

    The impact Rose has had on the success of the Chicago Bulls this season is plain to see, and that alone bodes well for his selection as this season's MVP.