7. KOBE BRYANT – Last week: 21.3 ppg/5.6 rpg/4.0 apg
LW: No. 7, maintaining
Last week, Kobe Bryant continued shooting a horrendous percentage. In a win at Golden State on Tuesday he was 9-for-24 with 30 points. In a loss against OKC at home on Thursday he shot 7-for-25 with 23 points. Then against New Orleans at home he was 3-for-21 with 11 points. Eleven points on 21 attempts is not the typical efficiency of an MVP candidate. Despite his poor shooting however, the Lakers have still been good enough, losing only six games in the month of March. Kobe is still amongst the league’s most valuable to his team because of what he offers in terms of leadership. But on paper, his numbers just aren’t MVP worthy.
6. DWIGHT HOWARD – Last week: 18.0 ppg/10.0 rpg/1.0 bpg
LW: No. 4, Falling
Although Dwight Howard didn’t play on Sunday against Denver for the Magic due to back spasms, he still had a decent week. First he put up 23 and 10 in a win against Toronto. He played terribly in that 22-point loss at New York on Wednesday, but bounced back by putting up 19 and 15 in a loss against Dallas. Two double doubles with a 1-2 record over three games… when his back spasms ease up, hopefully he can help the Magic can get back on track.
5. KEVIN LOVE – Last week: 29.0 ppg/12.5 rpg/3.3 apg
LW: No. 6, Rising
Putting up monster numbers seems to come easy to Kevin Love. It’s expected of him. He knows that unless he continues to operate at a ridiculously productive level, his team won’t be able to get to where he wants them to be. Kevin Love is a winner, and you can tell how badly he wants to pay for a winning team. He’s been doing all he can individually to win the way he wants to. It just hasn’t worked out for him yet. The Timberwolves are a good 4.5 games behind the eighth seed right now, and unless they win out, they won’t have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. However, you still can’t ignore Kevin Love’s individual contributions. If your definition of “most valuable” had nothing to do with team wins, he’d probably be your MVP.
4. DWYANE WADE – Last week: 21.2 ppg/5.0 apg/5.5 rpg
LW: No. 3, Falling
D-Wade has been solid for Miami, however this past week he didn’t play as well as he had been. It looked as if Miami, and Wade especially, were kicking it into high gear tuning up for the playoffs. However this week it looked the exact opposite. Wade seems a bit burnt out; he isn’t running the floor as much as he was, isn’t defending with that pesky tenacity he was defending with. His energy seems a bit low. On paper you can’t really tell.
He’s continued to contribute despite taking a bit of a breather. He played great at Toronto on Friday with 30 points on 12-for-19 shooting, but aside from that it was pretty much cruise control for Wade last week.