Most Valuable Player Watch
1. Kobe Bryant, Lakers G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
22 36.8 .481 .300 .845 2.1 0.3 5.5 4.2 27.8 25.3
He was off in the Lakers' loss to the Jazz, scoring 16 points on 7-for-24 shooting with six turnovers. Considering he had a broken finger and was feeling ill, he gets a pass here. (Last week: 1 | Team record: 18-4)
2. LeBron James, Cavs G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
24 37.8 .511 .368 .783 1.3 0.8 6.9 8.0 28.8 30.6
Cleveland is just 2-2 in its past four games, but don't blame James, who has scored at least 43 twice during that span. He's the only player in the league with a PER over 30. (Last week: 2 | Team record: 17-7)
3. C. Anthony, Nuggets G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
25 37.1 .487 .361 .873 1.2 0.3 6.0 3.1 30.4 25.6
The Nuggets have the second-most wins in the league thanks to Anthony, who continues to get points with ease. He has scored at least 30 points in four straight games. (Last week: 3 | Team record: 18-7)
4. Dwight Howard, Magic G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
24 34.3 .633 .000 .584 1.0 2.0 12.7 1.6 18.2 24.1
The Pacers tried to be physical with him on Monday. The result? He had 21 points and 23 rebounds. He is sixth in the NBA in blocks, second in shooting and first in rebounding. (Last week: 4 | Team record: 18-6)
5. Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
25 38.7 .467 .346 .888 1.1 1.4 8.2 2.8 26.6 24.8
He continues to come up big, including Saturday against the Bobcats. He scored 18 of his 36 points in the fourth and OT and hit the game winner with 1.8 seconds left. (Last week: 6 | Team record: 18-7)
6. Steve Nash, Suns G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
24 33.2 .529 .460 .940 0.3 0.2 2.8 11.1 18.0 23.6
The former MVP is enjoying one of his best seasons ever late in his career. Unfortunately, the Suns have fallen to 6-8 in games he doesn't get at least 11 assists. (Last week: 5 | Team record: 16-8)
7. Joe Johnson, Hawks G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
23 37.3 .449 .300 .874 1.2 0.0 5.2 5.1 21.0 19.2
He has scored in double digits in every game but one. In Sunday's win against the Nets (Atlanta's fourth straight) he had 21 points and 10 assists (second double-double). (Last week: 7 | Team record: 17-6)
8. Paul Pierce, Celtics G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
24 35.3 .481 .444 .835 1.1 0.5 4.4 3.8 18.0 19.1
He recently went over 19,000 points for his career. You could make a case that Rajon Rondo is Boston's most important player, but PP is the team's most consistent player. (Last week: 8 | Team record: 20-4)
9. Deron Williams, Jazz G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
22 39.2 .485 .360 .750 1.2 0.2 4.4 10.3 20.4 21.3
He has been unstoppable at times, averaging 25 points and 11.6 assists in the past five games. He is one of two players in the top 15 in scoring and top five in assists. (Last week: NR | Team record: 14-10)
10. Pau Gasol, Lakers G MIN FG% 3P% FT% STL BLK RPG AST PTS PER
11 34.5 .578 .000 .902 0.5 1.3 11.5 4.1 17.6 26.2
The Lakers are 10-1 since he returned. He has grabbed at least 20 boards in both of the past two games and continues to show he is one of the best passing big men. (Last week: NR | Team record: 18-4)
Most Improved Player of the Year Watch
By David Thorpe
1. Beno Udrih, Kings: An argument could have been made last season that he was the worst starter on the worst team in the NBA. Now, he's "string music" from deep, unguardable on ball screens, and finishing almost 80 percent of his shots inside off drives.
2. Josh Smith, Hawks: Don't let the similar scoring numbers fool you. Smith has changed his game with greatly improved shot selection and heightened defensive awareness.
3. Channing Frye, Suns: He's already tripled the number of 3-pointers he made in his whole career in just 24 games, hitting more than 44 percent of them so far.
4. Marc Gasol, Grizzlies: The Grizzlies are one of the best stories of the season, and Gasol is no longer just a solid player, but rather the team's anchor and leader. He scores, rebounds and defends. And he's like a coach on the floor.
5. Aaron Brooks, Rockets: For MIP, I prefer rewarding guys who are playing much better rather than players who are just getting more time and opportunity, but I can't ignore what Brooks has done. Houston looked like it was headed to the lottery this past summer, but he has energized the Rockets to heights no one outside of their locker room thought possible.
Defensive Player of the Year Watch
1. Josh Smith, Hawks: His highlight-worthy blocks get most of the attention, but the heart and soul of Atlanta's defense has provided much more than that. He has taken fewer plays off, makes up for teammates' mistakes with his leaping ability and has been getting more than his share of rebounds and steals. (Last week: 1)
2. Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder: Few players bring more passion to the defensive end of the court than Sefolosha, who has been the league's best perimeter defender this season.(Last week: 2)
3. Gerald Wallace, Bobcats, and Shane Battier, Rockets: The 6-7 Wallace is pulling down an eye-popping 12.2 rebounds per game (four more than his career high). He is also averaging 1.6 steals a game and is a strong candidate for the MIP award.
Battier contests every shot, keeps his man in front of him and never gives up on plays. (Last week: NR)
4. Rajon Rondo, Celtics: It is easy to peg Rondo as a defender who simply jumps passing lanes, but he shuts down opposing point guards as well as anyone. (Last week: 5)
5. Brook Lopez, Nets: He rejects shots from the weak side, pulls down almost six defensive rebounds a game and deserves to be playing in the All-Star Game in two months. (Last week: 3)
Sixth Man of the Year Watch
1. Al Harrington, Knicks: How much longer will Harrington -- who is now starting -- continue to be on this list? New York is on a four-game win streak since he joined the starting five. (Last week: 1)
2. Jason Terry, Mavericks: He can score points in bunches. However, he hasn't been providing much else statistically for Dallas lately. (Last week: 2)
3. Jamal Crawford, Hawks: He is basically a sixth starter for Atlanta, averaging 16.5 points in 30 minutes per game. He dropped in a season-high 29 points against the Bulls. (Last week: 3)
4. Carl Landry, Rockets: He saves his best work for last, averaging almost seven points per game in the fourth quarter, which puts him among the league leaders. (Last week: 4)
5. Manu Ginobili, Spurs: He is healthy and averaging almost 20 points per game during San Antonio's current three-game winning streak. (Last week: NR)
Rookie of the Year Watch
1. Tyreke Evans, Kings: The Kings have dropped four of five despite the fact that Evans continues to stuff the stat sheet with points, rebounds, assists and steals. He has been so good this season, he is considered an MVP candidate by some despite Sacramento's 10-12 record. (Last week: 1)
2. Brandon Jennings, Bucks: He notched the first double-double of his young career when he scored 18 points and handed out a personal-best 11 assists in a win against the Blazers on Saturday. (Last week: 2)
3. Jonny Flynn, Wolves: Victories have been hard to come by in Minnesota, but the point guard made sure the Wolves got a "W" on Monday against Utah by scoring a career-high 28, including the game winner with three seconds left. (Last week: 5)
4. Stephen Curry, Warriors: He has been scoring more and passing less for the struggling Warriors recently. Often overlooked is his ability to make steals, too. He has made 16 thefts in the past five games. (Last week: NR)
5. Wesley Matthews, Jazz: His stats (8.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists) aren't impressive, but he has cracked Jerry Sloan's rotation because of his energy and airtight defense. (Last week: NR)
Coach of the Year Watch
1. Scott Brooks, Thunder: He has a team full of youngsters playing harder and better than most could have predicted. Oklahoma City has transformed into one of the top defensive teams in the league. (Last week: 1)
2. Mike Woodson, Hawks: The Hawks have become title contenders under Woodson, who has them playing tough defense. He also has turned Josh Smith into a more efficient player on the offensive end. (Last week: 3)
3. Rick Carlisle, Mavs: Dallas is giving up the fourth-fewest points in the West. The Mavericks' current four-game win streak has them tied with the Nuggets for the second-best record in the conference. (Last week: 4)
4. Rick Adelman, Rockets: A 13-10 record without its two biggest stars is impressive, especially since Adelman says Houston has an "utterly ridiculous" schedule. (Last week: 4)
5. Alvin Gentry, Suns: They are perfect at home (8-0) and despite 16 games on the road already, they have the third-best record in the Western Conference. (Last week: 5)
ESPN SUCKS DICK, where the hell is Wade?
I dont like the rankings to much I think Carmelo Anthony should be #1 for MVP right now he has great numbers and plays on a very good team. And no Wade on the MVP list? And where is Chris Douglas-Roberts on the Most Improved player award? He should defintely be in the top 5 for MIP.
i agree with jeff melo is mvp right now
lol..this isnt my list. people hate espn so they take 2 points from me..lol
i think you gotta throw Paul Westphal in coach of the year talk this is almost the same roster as last year but a drastic change in over all play. Also PW has an amazing ability to put his players in the best situation to shine and help the team. hes helped resurrect the careers of beno and sergio. DONT sleep on sergio he throws dishes like no other and a spark off the bench and when the kings go uptempo when their in a rut or a close game he tears it up plus he still only 23 dont let the premature balding fool you
I agree with one part....Sefolosha is the best perimeter defender in the NBA right now. He showed it against the Lakers earlier in the season, he defended Kobe the best of any player so far this year and he has locked down most of everyone else he's defended.
This list is pretty old isn't it? Like from 15 games ago...
yeah. for a minute i didnt even know i was the one who posted it
Wow what are those MVP cantidates where the hell are Wade and Durant? Most improved player theyre missing Brook Lopez all be it on a bad team and Luis Scola and Carl Landry both look good.