And our mid season awards keep rolling, after handling the top 10 rookies and top 10 foreign players in 2009-2010 up to now, we are with the 10 best players in the NBA so far this season and our mid season MVP.
BTW – No Centers on this list… just goes to show you how disappointed I am in Dwight Howard so far this season, despite his impressive rebounding numbers.
Number 10 – Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Sick of him yet? Nowitzki, 2nd in our best foreign players this season so far has been doing what we’ve gotten used to see him do over the last decade, scoring 25.4 points with 8 rebounds per game, leading the Mavs to the second place in the west, looking like potential title challengers at times and far from it on other occasions, despite Nowitzki’s best efforts.
Number 9 – Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
D-Will seems to be getting better and better and I apologize to him for not putting him in my pre-season top 5 point guards in the league. His numbers – 19.4 points and 9.6 assists (3rd in the league), as the Jazz are currently just short of the 8th spot in the West. Utah are on a decline since their peak 2 seasons ago but Williams just keeps improving all aspects of his game.
Number 8 – Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
Another member of our best foreign players list from a couple of days ago, Nash is back to his 05-07 form, leading the run&gun Suns to the 6th spot in the West (24-18), with 18.7 points per game and 11.1 assists per game (2nd in the league). He is also 5th in the league in double-doubles.
Number 7 – Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
As usual, Dwyane Wade is doing everything on a mediocre Heat team (at best), with 27.1 points (5th in the league), 4.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists (10th), 1.8 steals (6th) and 1.2 blocks. The Heat are 6th in the East (20-19) and would probably be somewhere between Philly and the Nets if it weren’t for Flash, who is on his final contract year, if you didn’t know. Total rebuild time in Miami or will Wade stay? Getting passed the first round in the playoffs might convince him that there’s a solid foundation for the future.
Number 6 – Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
Bosh is enjoying the best season of his career so far in 2009-2010, with career highs in points (23.8, 8th in the league), rebounds (11.2, 6th in the league) and FG% (52.2). He also leads the league alongside Dwight Howard in double-doubles with 29 (out of 41 games) and like Wade is also in the final year of his contract, currently 7th in the East with the much improved from last year Toronto Raptors.
Number 5 – Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Carmelo, like others on this list, is having the best season of his career, building on his strong 2009 playoff performance. He is leading the league in scoring with 30 per game, adding 6.3 rebounds and a much improved field goal percentage compared to last year, with 47.6% compared to 2008-2009’s 44.3%. Grown-up? Mature? Maybe this is the season Carmelo joins Wade and LeBron in the highest levels of NBA players, being more than an All-Star.
Number 4 – Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
Last year he finished fifth in the MVP ballots. A place higher in 2009-2010? The Hornets, unlike Paul, had a pretty horrible start to the season and then CP3 went down, but things turned around for the team and since his return in December the Hornets are 14-8, putting them 1.5 games behind the 8th spot in the Western conference. He is leading the league in assists with 11.2 and is third in steals (2.28), adding 19.4 points per game and 4.5 rebounds. He is one of only six players this season in the entire league to record a triple double. The West is tough as always, but if Paul stays healthy, the Hornets will make the playoffs. Having the best point guard in the league usually comes in handy.
Number 3 – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
This is Durant’s third season, and he has truly established himself as one of the best players in the league, improving in a monstrous rate from the previous season, leading his Thunder to a very surprising (to some) playoff chase (currently 8th, 23-18). Durant is scoring 29.1 points per game (3rd in the league), grabbing 7.1 rebounds with an improved field goal percentage (48.4%). Durant is a legitimate MVP candidate this season and although he probably won’t win, he’s certainly proved he’ll be one of the major forces in the NBA for at least the coming decade.
Number 2 – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
The toughest question in the NBA – LeBron or Kobe? Well… Kobe is second on our list, but having the league’s best record and looking like the big favorites to win the title again this year, I’m sure Kobe won’t mind losing in the MVP race, or will he? Kobe is amazing as usual, if it’s the numbers (28.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists) or the game winning shots (3 and counting) or playing with a broken finger, you name it. His three point percentage is a bit down from last year, but when he and his team are dominating, who cares? One does have to wonder, by the way, when is Kobe going to start slowing down. He’s been playing over 100 games a season not counting the Olympics since 2007, and his body has got to start wearing down sometime. Maybe this season, maybe not. Maybe he won’t rest until he makes the seemingly impossible happen – be considered greater than MJ.
Mid Season MVP – LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
He doesn’t have the best bunch of players around him like Kobe does, but he’s leading the Cavs to a East best 31-11 record and looking like the premier contender the (second consecutive) MVP award. Championship ring? It’s hard to say… Cleveland don’t look like the best team, maybe not even in the East, but with LeBron on your side, who knows? 29.6 points (2nd), 7.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists (7th), 1.5 steals and 1 block per game, racking up two triple doubles along the way (only player with multiple TD games this season), never ceasing to amaze while the question of will he stay or will he leave Cleveland when the season ends looms over.