Welcome to the third installment of the Blogger MVP/ROY Rankings. You can find the tipoff voting at BrewHoop.com and Version 2.0 over at Clips Nation. Just in case this is new to you, here's a brief explanation of what we're doing. We've assembled the best minds in the basketball blogosphere -- well, at least the ones that are still returning our emails at this point -- and having them vote on who they think should be the Most Valuable Player and the Rookie of the Year for the 2007/08 NBA season. These rankings will appear every two weeks on corresponding Mondays, and you can check back here for a link to the next installment and then the next one after that all season long. Our motley crew of fellow voters:
- Tom of Sactown Royalty
- David of 20 Second Timeout
- Matt of Blog A Bull
- Seth of Posting and Toasting
- Matt/Corndogg of Hardwood Paroxysm
- NetIncome of NetsDaily
- Mike of Bullets Forever
- College Wolf of TWolvesBlog
- Ricky of Sixers 4 Guidos
- Alex of Brew Hoop
- The Crew of We Rite Goode
- James of Green Bandwagon
- Tom of Indy Cornrows
- Ben of Third Quarter Collapse
- Steve of Clips Nation
Our comments from the 3SoB staff will come first, followed by selected comments from the rest of the voting contingency that were judged with the utmost scrutiny. They either had to make us laugh or nod our heads in thoughtful agreement. We're tough critics, after all.
Most Valuable Player
1. Dwight Howard
When you average 23.1 ppg, 15.3 rpg and 2.7 bpg, both questions and hyperbole are sure to surround you. Is there another player in the league that appears to be able to post 40/20.....every single night he steps on the floor? Forget testing him for steroids or performance enhancers -- I want him tested to make sure that he's actually human! He actually frightens me -- and I root for a team that employs a player who threatened to murder referees and rape their wives and children over the summer. Now if only he could shoot better from the free throw line than he is from the floor, he might stop drawing the unfavorable comparisons to Shaq.
(Matt/Corndogg, Hardwood Paroxysm -- Best overall play. There's nothing that Howard's not doing right now, his numbers are great, his team would be wretched without him and he rules. Also, we call him Big Baby Jesus for a reason - he will save us all.)
2. Kevin Garnett
Are his numbers down? Yes. Does the league still already have part of his name engraved on the trophy? You better believe it. While I believe that there are at least 4 other players who probably deserve it more than he does, KG will continue to get support as long as the Celtics keep rolling along. Besides, you don't want to piss off anybody who plays with that level of intensity each and every night.
(College Wolf, TWolves Blog -- Amongst the elite of the league, slight differences in individual statistics should not carry as much weight when trying to determine something such as MVP rankings. When it comes down to it, KG is the emotional leader and the best defender on the team that happens to have the best record in the league. It's not like averaging 19 and 11 is too shabby either.)
(Ricky, Sixers4Guidos -- I hate to use cliches, but...he's the best player on the best team.)
3. LeBron James
If there is something he cannot do with a basketball, we haven't seen it yet. He's even playing defense this year! If you ignore the team records, he probably wins the award going away. However, if you're like us, then you look at a guy who watched his team lose 5 straight while he sat out with an injury.....on his non-shooting hand. *shakes head in silent disappointment*
(College Wolf, TWolves Blog -- Doing everything in his power to prevent a career parallel to that of KG, prior to arriving in Beantown.)
(We Rite Goode -- Why punish LeBron in the MVP vote too? Surrounded by mediocrity, dude is suffering enough.)
4. Kobe Bryant
He just might be the best all-around player in the NBA right now. Here's what we want to know though: If the Black Mamba wins the MVP, will Andrew Bynum get partial credit? Because we know that Kobe's already taking bows for Bynum's run at Most Improved Player.
(David, 20 Second Timeout -- Widely acknowledged as the "best" player in the NBA, supposedly the only reason that he has not won the MVP award the past two years is his team's record. The Lakers have beaten Phoenix twice and are on pace for more than 50 wins, so if the Lakers keep this up, then that excuse will no longer be valid. Even LeBron insists that Kobe is the league's best player, so who are we to argue?)
5. Chris Paul
We're probably biased after being witness to two 40+ point whuppin's, but great googly-moogly, is there any way to stop this kid from doing whatever he pleases? "Finally...a point guard worthy of being considered for the MVP award" is how my co-blogger MemphisX phrased it.
(James, Green Bandwagon -- I would like someone to send me a detailed plan of how to effectively guard him. If someone has such a plan, I would like said person to immediately become a coach in the NBA.)
(We Rite Goode -- We don't want to be on the wrong side of John Hollinger.)
6. Steve Nash
The two-time MVP has been put on the back burner when MVP talks take place, but he still leads the entire universe in "assists that you have to replay three times on the DVR to figure out how he saw that angle", as well as giving perhaps the greatest postgame interview of all time. Besides, his Canadian accent reminds us to flip through all 836 channels to find a hockey game once a week.
(Matt/Corndogg, Hardwood Paroxysm -- While the Suns have been "so-so" by their standards, they'd be sunk without Nash. And that whole "leading the league in assists" thing -- well, that goes a long way with us.)
7. Tim Duncan
Do you get the feeling that Timmy is getting bored with the regular season? He hasn't turned into a complete slacker, like say, Shaq over the last decade, but you can sense that he wouldn't balk at only having to play against teams over .500 that he might face in the postseason. I wonder if Pop has him on a 35 mpg/15 incredulous looks max this season?
(David, 20 Second Timeout -- Like Kevin Garnett, he is putting up lower numbers than usual, but the Spurs were just 2-2 during the four games that he missed due to injury. His performance has been up and down since returning to action.
8. Carlos Boozer
Boozer is having a career year, putting up numbers to rival Dwight Howard's (24 and 11), but his team's .500 record is surely costing him votes. If not that, then it is probably the ascension of teammate Deron Williams that is keeping people from mentioning him in the Top 5. If it's not that....well, we hate to point out flaws, but you'd think with the cash he's pulling in, he could afford to see a dermatologist. We're sure that his skin condition isn't doing him any favors with the voting public.
(College Wolf, TWolves Blog - He's a beast, but the fact that the Utah Jazz are currently not in the playoff picture hurts his chances at the MVP.
9. Chauncey Billups
Mr. Big Shot is quietly having a solid season as the Pistons currently enjoy an 8 game winning streak that includes victories over Boston, Houston and Golden State. While it is difficult to ascertain just who the MVP of the Pistons truly is, we have no problem giving that title to the floor general who has been the catalyst of their success over the past few years.
(NetsDaily -- The Pistons are the best team in the league right now, and Chauncey deserves some love .)
10. Brandon Roy
Once Portland reported that #1 overall pick Greg Oden would miss the season, everyone penciled the Blazers in to compete with the T'Wolves for worst record in the league. Brandon Roy said: Hold up -- wait a minute. He's averaging 19.1 ppg, 5.6 apg and 4.6 rpg while shooting nearly 45% from the floor. In short, he's doing what an MVP candidate does to lead his team to wins.
(James, Green Bandwagon -- You have to respect the Blazers' ridiculous win streak. You just have to.)
Also receiving votes: Caron Butler, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Michael Redd, Deron Williams, Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady, Chris Kaman, Al Jefferson
Rookie of the Year
1. Kevin Durant
KD has had this ranking wrapped up since being drafted by Seattle (or is it ok to start calling them OKC yet?) and is only now facing a challenge to his place atop the pedestal. He'll need to improve his shooting percentages and lead his team to a few more victories to assure himself of the award though.
(Matt/Corndogg, Hardwood Paroxysm -- We don't necessarily WANT to reward the chucking madness going on in Seattle, but we can't really do otherwise until one of the others steps up.)
2. Al Horford
The most consistent threat to Durant's stranglehold, Horford is nearly averaging a double-double (9.2 and 9.5) and is a big part of why the Hawks are suddenly, well, respectable. If he avoids crashing after hitting the inevitable rookie wall, he could move into the top spot next month.
(College Wolf, TWolves Blog -- Too bad he can't play point guard for the Hawks, too.)
(Matt/Corndogg, Hardwood Paroxysm -- Playing great all-around basketball. In Atlanta. We're perplexed.)
3. Yi Jianlian
He has settled in to some form of consistency, although you still have to prepare for both the 20+ point scoring outbursts and the 5 point "stinkers" as you would with any young player. Yi might not have a lot of fellow countrymen to keep him company in the land of beer and bratwurst, but he seems to be adapting to the NBA quite well.
(David, 20 Second Timeout -- Like all of these rookies, he has had some ups and downs, but he has been more consistent than most of the first year players.)
(Matt/Corndogg, Hardwood Paroxysm -- Ancient Proverb says: You Can Go No Wrong Path, With 7 Foot Chinese Dude.)
4. Juan Carlos Navarro
"Instant Grits" hasn't been given consistent minutes the last two weeks, so it is really no surprise that he hasn't performed consistently. He is still the Grizzlies' fourth-leading scorer, even with PT ranging from 12 minutes to 23 to 44, depending on the injury situation of the perpetually plagued Memphis roster. The fact that he is a seasoned international veteran has undoubtedly helped with his adjustment to the grind of the NBA.
(Matt/Corndogg, Hardwood Paroxysm -- Hello. My name is Juan Carlos Navarro. You traded my rights. Prepare to die.)
5. Sean Williams
Sean Williams? I thought we were going to be talking about Jamario Moon here? No...well how about Luis Scola then? Fine, fine. Williams has been a tough, physical presence that has put up 10 rebounds in each of the last two games and is averaging 8.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 3.0 bpg in 6 games as a starter. In short, he's the kind of guy that other teams will regret passing on sooner, rather than later.
(NetIncome, NetsDaily -- His presence in the starting lineup has reinvigorated the Nets to the tune of 4-2 over their last six games.)
Also receiving votes: Jamario Moon, Luis Scola, Jeff Green, Daequan Cook, Al Thornton
Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the Comments.