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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA MVP Power Rankings: Is Carmelo Anthony catching up to Kevin Durant?

We are a little more than a quarter of the way finished with the NBA season now. The Oklahoma City Thunder are currently the hottest team in the league with the best record and on an 11-game win streak.

The New York Knicks still hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference just a game and a half ahead of the Miami Heat. The Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs are two games back each of the Thunder.

A few disappointments so far have been the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets who each would barely make the playoffs if they started today. But no team has been more disappointing than the Los Angeles Lakers so far.

Team success has a lot to do with MVP candidacy. Now let’s look at the players who are in the running for the award so far this year.

1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Durant still deserves the top spot here with the Thunder rolling the way that they are. Durant is putting up career numbers in terms of PER and true shooting percentage as he has a shot at joining the 50-40-90 club. His improvement from last season will be a big reason why he is considered the MVP so far this season especially with James Harden’s departure.

2. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

The Knicks just keep winning while Anthony is playing the best basketball of his career. He really seems to have carried over his Olympic play to the NBA season and it has been perfect for this Knicks team. The veterans surrounding Anthony are only helping to lift him to another level this season too.

3. LeBron James, Miami Heat

You can’t drop LeBron too far down the MVP ladder. He’s still leading the league in PER and putting up better all-around numbers than anyone. The Heat just haven’t been winning quite as much as you’d expect. All it’s going to take is a big month or two from LeBron and the Heat for him to get back in poll position of this race.

4. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

What Kobe is doing at this age and leading the league in scoring as efficiently as he’s ever been is remarkable. The issue is the Lakers aren’t winning, at all. Once they do and most people still believe they will eventually get their act together, Kobe will be right up there in the MVP discussion.

5. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are quietly on a winning streak just as impressive as the Thunder’s. Paul is 5th in the NBA in PER behind only the four players ahead of him in these Power Rankings. The Clippers look much better than a season ago, more prepared to make a deep run in the playoffs. Their depth has been a big reason for their success though so it’s not all Paul which is why he ranks only 5th.

6. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have gotten off to a great start this season thanks mostly to Randolph. Randolph isn’t near the top of the league in PER but his averages of 17.2 points and 12.7 rebounds per game will not go unnoticed by MVP voters. Memphis has shown that they are as tough as anyone in the league to match up with and Randolph being their power forward is the biggest reason why.

7. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Curry has led the Warriors to the fifth best record in the Western Conference so far this season. The key has simply been his health. He’s averaging 19.7 points, 6.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. His shooting numbers have not been their best either so expect those to rise as the season goes on. The Warriors have been one of the biggest surprises of the year playing this well so early. If they can keep it up, Curry will deserve some MVP attention.

8. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

Smith and the Hawks have also surprised the NBA in their first season after Joe Johnson currently holding the third best record in the Eastern Conference. They have many impressive wins including against the Thunder in OKC. Smith is averaging 16.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game to lead the Hawks.

9. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

Rondo is still leading the league in assists by far and if the Celtics can get their act together and move up the standings in the Eastern Confernce, he will keep moving up in the MVP Power Rankings. He’s averaging 12.9 points, 12.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game this year as he looks to be playing the best ball of his career.

10. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Westbrook will never win the NBA because he is on the same team as Kevin Durant but he still deserves to be ahead of others in the MVP Power Rankings. Like Durant, Westbrook is also having a career year passing the ball better than ever and playing defense at the highest level we’ve ever seen from him. The Thunder needed Durant and Westbrook to step up and fill the Harden void this year and both have done exactly that.

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony Chris Paul Josh Smith Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant LeBron James Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat NBA MVP New York Knicks Oklahoma City Thunder Rajon Rondo Russell Westbrook Stephen Curry Zach Randolph

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