We have reached roughly the 75% mark of the season and most teams have played around 60 games. The playoffs are due in about 6 weeks and positioning for spots has been very exciting. It's time to examine for the third time how the players have performed for the different individual awards for the 2012-2013 season.
The Top 5 players in each individual award category are listed including their rank from the previous edition.
Here's the link for the past editions: 1st Edition 2nd Edition
Statistics used are from games until March 9, 2013.
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat | Last Rank: 2nd
The Heat have a 17-game winning streak and they have the best record in the NBA. LBJ leads the league in PER and is shooting a career-high 56% with 29 double-doubles (7th in NBA) and 3 triple-doubles. He also has a 2-0 advantage vs Durant in their meetings this season.
2. Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder | Last Rank: 1st
KD leads the league in scoring and is headed for his 4th straight scoring title but his MVP campaign looks bleak. He is still the 2nd best player in the NBA but his overall game needs improvement. Durant is second to James in PER and is currently shooting 50+ from the field, 90+ from free throws and 41+ from threes.
3. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers | Last Rank: 3rd
Chris Paul is 3rd in PER and averages 17 and 9.6 assists for the very entertaining Lob City Clippers. CP3 has been clutch for the Clips and he can take over games at the end. Paul also leads the league in steals which can generate gorgeous alley-oops to Blake Griffin.
4. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs | Last Rank: 5th
Parker guided the Spurs to the best record in the NBA before he went down with an ankle injury that would sideline him for a month. The Spurs then are 2-1 in the 3 games that TP missed recently. Parker is 5th in PER while shooting 53% from the floor to lead all guards.
5. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers | Last Rank: Not Ranked
The Lakers are just 0.5 games out of the 8th spot in the West. Kobe has been amazing in the last 2 weeks, hitting clutch treys/shots and willing his team to victories. He has scored 30+ in 7 of 8 games. Bryant leads the league in total minutes and he has crept into the top 10 in PER
Out of the Rankings: Carmelo Anthony - 4th
1. Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers | Last Rank: 1st
Lillard won the Skills Rookie Challenge and that will accompany his ROY trophy at the end of the season. He leads all rookies in minutes, points, threes made and assists. Lillard did not get challenged to much due to injuries by Drummond and Davis.
2. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards | Last Rank: 5th
The Wizards are more competitive now since John Wall came back, but the improvement of Beal has been noticeable. He averaged almost 20 points in his last 10 games and the Wiz traded Jordan Crawford to give him more minutes.
3. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers | Last Rank: 4th
Waiters has been solid for most of the season and he ranks 2nd in rookie scoring and 2nd in team scoring with the Cavs. He is scoring nearly 18 points in his last 10 games. His scoring in wins or losses are rougly the same which shows his consistency.
4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets | Last Rank: 3rd
Anthony Davis is tops in double-doubles and 2nd in PER among rookies since Drummond went down with an injury. Davis has had a rather underwhelming rookie campaign due to injuries and was not a threat in the ROY award.
5. Kyle Singler, Detroit Pistons | Last Rank: Not Ranked
Singler has been a more durable player for the Pistons (played all 64 games) than Drummond. He started in 56 games and has been solid with 9 points and 4 rebounds.
Out of the Rankings: Andre Drummond - 2nd
1. Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers | Last Rank: 1st
Crawford still makes big shots for the Clippers and he leads all bench players in points per game. Crawford produced this highlight of the year alley-oop nominee with Blake Griffin last week.
2. Jarrett Jack, Golden State Warriors | Last Rank: 5th
Jack has made clutch shots for the Warriors including that OT win over the Spurs 2 weeks back. The Warriors trust his leadership and decision-making which allows them to play small ball with Curry and Thompson.
3. Kevin Martin, OKC Thunder | Last Rank: 3rd
Martin has struggled lately with his shooting but still averages a decent 14.5 points and shoots 43% from downtown and 90% from the foul line.
4. JR Smith, New York Knicks | Last Rank: 2nd
JR had big scoring games for the Knicks but he has been inefficient shooting the ball (below 40%) and his bad shots and bad decisions have led to a couple of losses for the Knicks.
5. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets | Last Rank: Not Ranked
Anderson is 2nd in threes made and 2nd in team scoring with the Hornets. He has been the best big man on the Hornets even with Anthony Davis on the team.
Out of the Rankings - Carl Landry - 4th
Most Improved Player
1. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic | Last Rank: 1st
Vucevic had another 20-20 game vs the Heat which gives him 2 for his career, both against the Heat. Vucevic is 5th in rebounding and 4th in double-doubles.
2. Paul George, Indiana Pacers | Last Rank: Not Ranked
George made the leap to All-Star in his 3rd year and he leads the Pacers in points. He has career-highs in all major offensive categories. George is also becoming a decent defender on the perimeter.
3. Grievis Vasquez, New Orleans Hornets | Last Rank: 3rd
Vasquez is 3rd in the NBA in assists behind Rondo and Paul. He has 23 double-doubles and 1 triple-double. He's having a career year in points, assists, rebounds and threes.
4. Omer Asik, Houston Rockets | Last Rank: 2nd
Asik has been solid for the season and still averages a double-double (10.4 & 11.8) He 28 double-doubles for the year and is 2nd in rebounding.
5. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers | Last Rank: 4th
Holiday also made the jump into All-Star in his 3rd year. He is 4th in assists per game and leads the Sixers in points and assists.
Out of the Rankings: Nicolas Batum - 5th
1. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls | Last Rank: 1st
Noah had 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks in a win over the Sixers. Noah is 4th in rebounds, 6th in blocks and tied for 7th in double-doubles.
2. LeBron James, Miami Heat | Last Rank: 5th
LBJ has guarded elite scorers on the perimeter and post players. During the Heat's winning streak, James has effectively limited the likes of Carmelo, KD, Kobe and Holiday.
3. Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks | Last Rank: 2nd
The Knicks are 10th in team defense mainly due to Chandler's presence. Chandler rotates well on pick and rolls and helps on defense often. Tyson averages 11 and 11.
4. Larry Sanders, Milwaukee Bucks | Last Rank: 3rd
Sanders leads the league in blocks and his minutes are starting to go over the 30-minute mark. His rebounds have gone up with the extra usage: 12 boards in the last 10 games.
5. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies | Last Rank: Not Ranked
The Grizzlies are tops in team defense and Marc Gasol is a big reason behind that. His rebounds and blocks are not impressive but his mobility and communication with teammates result in better overall defense.
Out of the Rankings: Serge Ibaka - 4th
(Monday, March 4th)
Final Score: New York 102, Cleveland 97
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Amar'e Stoudemire was the key to a second- half comeback for the New York Knicks, who overcame a miserable start to take a 102-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday at Quicken Loans Arena. Stoudemire tied a season-high with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting and was forced to play over his 30-minute cap limit in the absence of Carmelo Anthony, who exited with a knee injury in the second quarter. New York was also aided by some timely 3-point shooting, converting 7-for-11 from long distance in the final quarter to overcome a 22-point deficit earlier in the game and end a 10- game losing streak in Cleveland. Steve Novak and Jason Kidd combined for seven triples and scored 15 and 12 points, respectively, while J.R. Smith chipped in 18 points to help the Knicks rebound from their loss to Miami on Sunday. It was a tale of two halves for the Cavaliers, who shot just 31.4 percent over the final two quarters after converting an insane 68.4 percent by halftime. Marreese Speights scored 23 points and Kyrie Irving returned from a three-game absence to finish with 22. Rookies Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller both missed the contest for Cleveland with illnesses.
Final Score: Milwaukee 109, Utah 108 (OT)
Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Monta Ellis scored 34 points on 15-of-21 shooting and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Utah Jazz, 109-108, in overtime on Monday. Brandon Jennings recorded a double-double with 20 points and 17 assists, while J.J. Redick scored 17 points off the bench for the Bucks, who are on a four- game winning streak. Larry Sanders had eight points, 16 rebounds and six blocks for Milwaukee. Derrick Favors registered 23 points and 15 rebounds, Paul Millsap had 22 points and 14 rebounds and Enes Kanter added 18 points and grabbed 10 boards for the Jazz, who were coming off a win against Charlotte on Friday.