6. Tony Parker – Last Week: 15.6ppg/9.0apg/2.6rpg Stock: rising
The Spurs have officially clinched the best record in the Western Conference. They have been the hottest team in basketball for the past two months. Had it not been for a 5-point loss against Denver in early March, a 7-point loss to Dallas in the middle of March, and a tough-14 point loss to the Lakers early this month, the Spurs could be on a 26-game winning streak right now. When you win 23 of your last 26, someone is well deserving of some acknowledgement. Aside from the obvious, Coach Popovich, that somebody is Tony Parker. With Duncan getting older, Ginobili fighting injuries, he’s had the ball in his hand a lot more often. He’s having his best season as a pure point guard, all while averaging 18 points a game. If there’s any one player on the Spurs that deserves to be in the MVP conversation, it’s Tony Parker.
Last week: 8
5. Russell Westbrook – Last week: 14.0ppg/5.2apg/4.0tpg Stock: falling
Last week might just have been Russell Westbrook’s worst week of the season. He had his lowest scoring average through 4 consecutive games with some horrendous shooting nights (4-16 against the Clippers, 3-22 against the Lakers) and a terrible assist to turnover ratio. What people don’t realize is, Kevin Durant is right. The Oklahoma City Thunder are only as good as Russell Westbrook is. He’s the determining factor in their success. If he plays efficiently, and scores high numbers their almost impossible to beat, but when he struggles they look very regular.
Last week: 4
4. Kobe Bryant - Last week: 22ppg/4.5apg/4.0rpg Stock: rising
Kobe made his return against San Antonio on Friday. In his first game back, he finished with 18 points on 7-12 shooting in a 24-point loss. Against Oklahoma City on Sunday, he was struggling for the first 3 quarters, however he put on yet another remarkable Kobe Bryant Clutch Performance in the 4th quarter and overtime, finishing with 26 points on 9-26 shooting in a crazy comeback victory. The Lakers were in a tight race with the Clippers for the division, so Kobe’s clutch performance was a major part of their clinch. Even though he wasn’t having a great shooting night, he found a way to get the job done, and held Russell Westbrook to 3-22 shooting. He is currently locked in the tightest scoring race in NBA history with Durant – that outcome will play a factor in these final rankings.
Last week: 6