2011-12 NBA Preview: Top 8 Players Primed for MVP with a Shortened Season
Happy December, Bleachers!
NBA fans can rejoice! There is basketball to be played after all.
After a lockout that seemed to take away NBA basketball for the entire 2011-12 Season, a tentative agreement was made between the players and owners just in the nick of time.
Although we will not have the 82-game Season we are accustomed to, 66 games is not the worst hand we could have been dealt. The 1998-99 Season saw only 50 games played.
A shortened NBA Season—a gift that will come to us on the December 25th—has one question begging to be answered:
Who is ready to be MVP of the league for 66 straight games? Who will step up to the plate and help their team rise to the occasion?
Here are the top eight players who are destined for League MVP in a 66-game Season.
8. Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets)
Deron Williams has been a good PG ever since his rookie year with the Utah Jazz. He was traded to New Jersey late last season due to his contract's expiration after this season.
Rumors are that he will not sign a contract extension with the Nets. That can only mean one thing:
He will be a force to be reckoned with during the 2011-12 NBA season.
Not only will his goal be to help the Nets become an above average team as they prepare to move to Brooklyn, he will be selling himself to all the teams that will have interest in taking him on for bigger money than he can get with the New Jersey Nets next season.
But that will not happen until after this season.
Look for Williams to score a ton and dish out a heaping number of assists to his teammates.
7. Blake Griffin (LA Clippers)
The 2010-11 NBA Rookie of the Year will have a say in who takes home League NBA MVP honors this season.
The MVP does not have to be the player with the absolute best statistics, he also has to take his team to the next level. The LA Clippers have seen some rough times, but with the help of Griffin and Eric Gordon, they can make a splash this season.
Another key factor for Griffin’s potential dominance is Chris Paul.
Paul has stated that LA is a place he’d like to sign long-term. Surprisingly, the LA I speak of is not the Lakers. It is in fact the Clippers.
Paul is eyeing areas with younger talent and the Clippers indeed are young and hungry.
The addition of Chris Paul will spread the floor for Griffin and his already great statistics from his rookie season are bound to go up.
With or without Paul, look for Blake to be a surprising threat for MVP.
6. Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Like him or not, the man gets what he wants.
He wanted to play for the Knicks for some time now and last season he was traded to his hometown team.
He was the only asset that carried the Denver Nuggets since he was drafted back in 2003. After being traded to the dismal New York Knicks, he turned them into a playoff team.
Although they were eliminated in the first round of the last season’s playoffs, one thing was made certain:
Melo is ready for big things in the Big Apple this season.
Another aspect is that Anthony is trying to make his team better with big time free agents next summer, such as Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
Anthony hoisting a League MVP Trophy above his head sure wouldn't hurt the chances of one of them coming to New York.
5. Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)
Dirk Nowitzki has the potential to have an MVP-caliber season.
The NBA Finals MVP was the hottest player in last year’s playoffs and that may very well roll over into this season. A shortened season may just be what the doctor ordered for Dirk, who is getting up there in age.
He is getting older, but I wouldn’t count him out as an MVP candidate. The big reason for that is he is the leader of the Dallas Mavericks, and they wouldn’t be as good as they are without the German Wonder.
Tyson Chandler is a huge key to Dirk’s success this season. He is a free agent as we speak and many teams are inquiring about him.
It seems unlikely that the Mavs will sign Chandler to the lucrative contract he desires, but if they do, look for big things out of the Big D and its biggest asset, Dirk Nowitzki.
4. Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
If LeBron James doesn’t show up this season and continues to be the choke artist we all have come to know and love, expect Dwyane Wade to take full advantage.
The Heat won’t make it to the Finals with only Wade playing superb basketball, but MVP could very well be in his sights.
With Miami’s revamped team getting their first season out of the way, Wade can now settle himself into a role that sees him scoring and passing more than he did last season.
How well Chris Bosh does, as well as the rest of the team, will also being telling in whether Wade’s MVP conquest will come to fruition.
With Wade being more of a complete player than James, look to see his name on The MVP trophy before LeBron’s.
3. Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers)
Kobe Bryant may be getting older, but like fine wine, he seems to be getting better with age.
Bryant is consistently in the MVP conversation every single season and there is no doubt why. His statistics stay consistent and he makes the LA Lakers a championship contender year in and year out.
Kobe and the Lake Show came up short last season, but don’t expect Bryant to be on the decline when the season starts on the 25th of this month.
With almost two months of the NBA season already gone, look for Kobe Bryant to lead the Lakers to the top of the Western Conference and possibly back to the NBA Finals.
In doing so, expect Kobe to rack up points, assists and rebounds on a nightly basis.
2. Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Michael Jordan’s “Air Apparent” took the NBA by storm last season.
Derrick Rose took home MVP honors last season and with a short season, I don’t see a ton of stiff competition stopping him from repeating this feat.
Last season, he took a young and brash Bulls team all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Besides the Heat, nothing may be in their way to represent the East in the Finals this year. Especially considering this season is only 66 games.
While he may not be the sole reason the Bulls may sit atop the Eastern Conference this season, he undoubtedly is the biggest. He makes the team better as a whole.
And that is a true definition of an MVP-type player.
1. Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
The race for MVP sees this man leading the pack.
The award has eluded him thus far in his career but that may be over by the time the 2011-12 season comes to a close.
With each and every year, Kevin Durant becomes more explosive with his scoring and effective with his passing.
Although he’ll do the bulk of the scoring, look for Durant to be in more leadership role for the Thunder.
Durant will be his usual high-scoring self but become more involved in the passing game. With this he will lead the Thunder to at least the Western Conference Finals. As we know, this would be an improvement from last year.
It is more than likely he will accomplish this goal with MVP honors bestowed to him.
Thank you for reading!
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