LeBron leads impressive field of MVP candidates

Patrick Mullaney

The NBA season has reached its midpoint, and with it comes a discussion of possible MVP candidates. While there are many players in this league who have had great impacts on their teams, five stand above the rest in terms of the impact that they have had for their teams this season. Here are the five candidates who are ahead in the running for the honor:


This absurd man-child has averaged 20 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game on a 38-13 Orlando Magic team. He is the most dominant big man since Shaq. At the young age of 23, he will continue to own the lanes, paint and glass for a long time.

He has the likes of Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson around him, so he is not single-handedly leading his team, but he is taking over in the paint. Without his spectacular play on the inside, the Magic would fall back into the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference.

Howard, known as Superman for his astounding dunks in last year’s slam dunk competition, has had an amazing year.


Ever since he came into the league, he has made the New Orleans Hornets national championship contenders. Not many guys can do what he has done right out of college. Another season is almost over, and Paul finds himself in MVP candidate discussions again.

He is averaging 21.5-points, 10.9-assists, 5.4-rebounds per game on a 30-20 Hornets team. He has made David West into an all-star and Tyson Chandler was following suit before getting injured.

To know his value on the Hornets, just look at the game in which he got injured and could not play. His team was up 17; they wound up losing by eight.

While the Hornets have talent surrounding Paul, they are only a serious playoff threat when he steps on the court and one can expect to see Paul’s name on lists like this for years to come.


Wade has overcome doubts his whole career. The Heat finished last year at the bottom of the barrel. With the selection of Michael Beasley as the second pick of the draft, one would think that the Miami Heat would be better off. But he is turning out to be a little bit of a bust. Wade has to lead this team again, and it is looking like he will get the Heat into the playoffs. The recent trade that landed the Heat Jermaine O’Neal should help (that is, unless he gets injured).

His team would be nowhere near above .500 without him. The Heat isn’t the best team in the league, which might put Wade out of contention, but he is more important to his team than any other player in the league.

Wade used his time served in Beijing well and the experience has shown in his game. The stats say it all: 28.4-poins, seven assists and five rebounds a game.


In theory, the MVP should go to the best player on the best team, and that is Kobe Bryant. He may be considered a better player than LeBron James, but James is asked to do a lot more for his team. The Lakers need Bryant to score for them, but he does so much more. He guards the most prolific scorers on other teams most of the time.

At the end of his career, Bryant should be considered one of the greatest guards in the league. But the problem for him is that he is a little old, and the next guy on this list is just 24 years old and is pretty near Bryant’s level.

One could go on forever in praise of Bryant, but I will just show the stats: 27.7-points, five assists and 5.6 rebounds per game. Sure, his point total is one less than both James and Wade, but he has led this league in scoring more than enough times.


James is well on his way to becoming the greatest basketball player of all time, and he is only 24 years old. His ridiculous 28.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and seven assists per game have led his Cleveland Cavaliers to a 41-11 record, a good standing considering their roster.

The Cavs have added guard Mo Williams to help take some of the point load off of James’ back, but anytime the Cavs have needed him to overachieve, he has done so. James has risen to every single challenge that has faced him so far this season.

The guy does not even have a great jump shot – his outside shot is only average. Imagine how dominant he will be when he gets that. James is going to take his game to a whole new level, and he is already in another stratosphere compared to most of the NBA. He has improved greatly since his rookie season and just now may be nearing his glory years. As a result, he deserves the NBA MVP for the ’08-’09 season.