by HUMZA ALVI Staff Writer
The current NBA season has been rife with drama as many key players, such as reigning MVP Derrick Rose, missed significant time due to injuries. Nevertheless, even in a strange, inconsistent season, many players made important contributions toward the success of their team and could be considered in the conversation for most valuable player of the year (MVP) for the 2011-2012 regular season.
Many fans believe that the top three players were small forward Lebron James of the Miami Heat, small forward Kevin Durant, and point guard Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. While all players were undoubtedly vital, the person who deserves to win the award more than the others this year is James.
James is arguably the most prominent and well-known player in the league, and with good reason. He averages 27.1 points a game, 7.9 rebounds a game, and 6.2 assists a game, all of which suggest that whether he was setting up his teammate for an open shot or driving ferociously to the rim for a thunderous dunk, he helped his team in different facets of the game.
He led his team in the aforementioned categories, as well as having a field goal percentage at 53.1 and three point field goal percentage at 36.2. James has also never missed one game this season and helped Miami to a 46/20 record, which was second best in the Eastern conference.
“There is no player that can do what Lebron James can do in the league,” said junior David Bennett.
Not only was James an offensive juggernaut during the season, but he proved highly effective on the defensive end as well. He can guard anyone of any position, which only a few men in the history of the NBA could do, and he proved to be a pest for many of the NBA’s best on many nights. His positional versatility also helped his team run a variety of lineups.
“It’s highly unique, but also paramount for us to take advantage of our roster’s versatility, the strength of our roster. If we didn’t have a player like LeBron, we wouldn’t be able to unlock that versatility,” said Miami coach Erik Spolestra.
Most people agree that James deserves to win this prestigious award, but there are people who support three-time NBA all-star Durant’s bid for the honor.
“Kevin Durant should be the MVP because he has won the scoring title 3 times and really helps the Oklahoma City Thunder win in a desperate situation,” said sophomore Karthik Talluru.
Durant puts up 28 points, eight rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks. He also shoots an outstanding 49.6 percent from the field, and 38.7 from the three point line. He is a clutch player helping the Thunder in tight spots, such as when he made the game winning shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the Playoffs.
He, like James, did not miss a single game and is a decent all-around player. If it were not for James, he would be a definite choice, but James is more athletic and has more polished skills and experience.
Chris Paul has also been having a sensational season after being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers from the New Orleans Hornets. Although his numbers are not as impressive as the others at 19.8 PPG, 9.1 APG, 3.6 RPG, 2.5 SPG, he still changed the fortunes of the typically hopeless Clippers who have either always lost a player to injury or did not have enough sufficient talent.
Paul made Los Angeles popular for “Lob City”. The nickname came about due to his extraordinary passing skills, which, along with star power-forward Blake Griffin’s dunking skills, makes an explosive combo.
He is a point-guard, unlike the two small forwards, so it is unfair to compare them in skills. However, the other two, especially James, have made a bigger impact in terms of performance and athletics.
Only time will tell to see who will get this honor at the end of the month. However, no matter who wins, NBA fans know that these three men are all premiere players, and each will compete for the award in upcoming years.