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Bank Shots: Most valuable ‘Melo

24 April 2013 By Jesse Jones, Associate Sports Editor No Comments

This year’s NBA Most Valuable Player of the Year race is one of the most compelling MVP races in recent memory.

You have the reigning MVP LeBron James coming off his most efficient season since entering the league. Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Kobe

Bryant are in the mix as usual, and then you have a new, defensive-minded Carmelo Anthony.

When I think about who the MVP should be, I take a look at not only the players’ stats, but how other players on the team are performing and how much the team has accomplished.

I ask myself: “How would this team fare if you take away the MVP candidate?”

I’ll start with Durant.

He’s had a great season again, but so has Russell Westbrook. Serge Ibaka has improved each season as well.

Although I would love to see him win the MVP, which I think he should have last year, I still think he’ll narrowly miss out on the award for the second straight year.

There’s another strong argument for Chris Paul, who is the best point guard in the league. But for me, his team is too talented to say they wouldn’t make the playoffs without him.

Blake Griffin is a future Hall of Famer, Eric Bledsoe is an extremely talented young point guard and Jamal Crawford is a top candidate for Sixth Man of the Year each season. I’m still a believer in Caron Butler. When healthy, he can easily drop anywhere from 15-20 points a game and has always played good defense. As for DeAndre Jordan, despite his woes from the foul line, he too is an extremely talented player.

Because of LeBron’s unreal efficiency this season, as well as the Heat’s 27-game win streak, it appears he’ll win his fourth MVP award and I don’t want to take anything away from him. He’s clearly the best player in the league.

In my opinion, Carmelo should win the award.

He’s always been one of the best scorers in the game, but this year he was on fire for just about the entire season.

He won the scoring title with an average of 28.7 points per game, and as I said, he has committed more time and energy to defense, which has always been the knock on him.

Yes, JR Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award this season, but he’s just about the only other player on the Knicks who can create his own shot, and even with that, Smith is incredibly streaky.

There are solid role players on the Knicks, such as Steve Novack and Iman Shumpert, but Novack can only hit a three and Shumpert was injured for an extended period of time. Tyson Chandler is a former Defensive Player of the Year, but when you have so few options on offense, as well as the oldest roster in the league, you can’t overlook the importance of Carmelo to the Knicks.

The Heat would still make the playoffs in the East without LeBron. Dwyane Wade may not have had his best season, but he’s still a superstar. We saw Chris Bosh carry the team when Wade and James sat.

There’s just too much talent on that team. If you take Carmelo away from the Knicks, there’s no way they would have won the Atlantic Division and made the playoffs.

When the three ball isn’t falling for New York, Carmelo is just about the only player who can take the ball inside and play in the post, while having the ability to hit a mid-range shot with a man in his face.

I’ll end my argument on this stat. In the Knicks’ two playoff games this season, both wins, Carmelo has scored 70 points.

That equates to 40.6 percent of the Knicks’ points. JR Smith and Raymond Felton are the only other players to score in double-figures.

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