Derrick Rose and the Top 7 NBA MVP Candidates

Mark EvansCorrespondent IIIDecember 27, 2011

Derrick Rose and the Top 7 NBA MVP Candidates

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    Finally, some basketball!

    With the lockout finally resolved and some marquee games on Christmas day, the buzz around the NBA is back. The stars are ready to chase a championship, and Derrick Rose is ready to defend his MVP trophy. Who should the young Bulls star be looking out for?

    We’ll count down the top-seven MVP candidates, starting with No. 7.

7. Carmelo Anthony, Knicks

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    We all know Melo can score, and anybody who watched him on Christmas can tell you that he’s one of the best at it. And with the offensive-minded Mike “Seven Seconds or Less” D’Antoni as his coach, he’ll definitely have his fair share of isolation plays to get his shots.

    The Knicks appear ready to be relevant again, which will vault this superstar into the conversation for MVP.

    Only problem? He plays with Amar’e Stoudemire. As we saw from last year’s Miami Heat, it’s tough for a player to win MVP when he has a fellow superstar on the same roster.

    But Melo is “the guy” on this team, and he will at least be in the conversation for the award.

6. Kobe Bryant, Lakers

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    He’s not getting any younger, that’s for sure. And he’s certainly not playing at 100 percent.

    His team also pretty much gave away one of their best players, Lamar Odom, for almost nothing. If you think this is going to stop Kobe from another great season, you’re insane.

    The Black Mamba is one of the best to ever play the game, and he will once again will his team into the title conversation. If he can keep the Lakers at a championship level with their diminished roster, you have to consider Kobe for MVP.

    Yes, he has Pau Gasol, but everyone knows whose team this really is.

5. LeBron James, Heat

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    Arguably the best player in the league. Lock the Heat in for a top-two seed in the East, and while you’re at it, lock in LeBron for at least 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

    Like I mentioned earlier, however, it’s tougher for a player to win MVP when he plays with another superstar, a la Dwyane Wade.

    In Cleveland, we saw that LeBron had the potential to win the award year after year. He’s still the same caliber player that he was in Cleveland, but the teaming up in South Beach will hurt his chances of winning another MVP.

4. Dwight Howard, Magic

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    D12 is far and away the best big man in the league and one of the most dominant players around. He completely changes the game on both ends of the floor. And when you talk about players who defend the rim, he has to be the first player that comes to mind. Another 22/14/2 season is very realistic.

    The biggest obstacle between Howard and an MVP trophy? His team. The Magic don’t appear to be much improved in an Eastern Conference that still has the Bulls, Heat, Celtics and rising teams such as the Knicks and Pacers.

    Hard for a player to be the most valuable player on a potentially fifth- or sixth-place team.

3. Kevin Durant, Thunder

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    Durant has seemed to be a very trendy pick lately, given the rise of the Thunder and his development as one of the best players in the game. He scores with the best of them, and his length at the small forward position is a huge advantage. He very well might win the scoring title, and his Thunder will make a run for for the number one seed in the Western Conference.

    The theme that keeps on occurring in this conversation also comes into play with KD. He plays with Russell Westbrook, who is a rising star in the league.

    Durant is not the only superstar on his team, as is the case with a player like Derrick Rose. That being said, Durant will certainly be in the conversation at the end of the season.

2. Chris Paul, Clippers

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    The ex-Hornet and almost-Laker certainly has the hype surrounding him and the “other team” in L.A. All eyes are on Lob City and a certain point guard. No, I’m not talking about Mo Williams.

    If Chris Paul, along with Blake Griffin, can bring the Clippers back to relevancy, people will certainly take notice. This is his chance to win the MVP.

    I understand that CP3 also has Blake Griffin to help him out, but the story of the Clippers being a contender might be enough to overcome the fact that Paul has a superstar beside him.

    This is CP3's chance; let’s see if he grabs it.

1. Derrick Rose, Bulls

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    While discussing potential MVPs, Rose has the advantage that he is the only clear-cut superstar on his team. That being said, many people believe he is the most valuable player on the Bulls. He is not the best player in the league, but this is not a Best Player Award.

    The Bulls have a great shot at getting the top seed in the Eastern Conference again, which certainly plays to Rose’s advantage. And winning the game against Kobe Bryant’s Lakers on Christmas is certainly getting off to a great start.

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