Welcome back to the MVP rankings, James Harden — even though guys on sub-.500 tams usually should have no mention in MVP discussions.
We grant you leniency here, Mr. Harden, because the season is less than three weeks old and despite the inherent silliness of starting an MVP conversation so early, that is exactly what we have decided to do on this site every single Sunday throughout the season.
I have been an official MVP voter for several consecutive years now, so the only ranking that will matter is the one that goes on my ballot e-mailed to the NBA office the morning after the final game of the season (if I am granted voting privileges again. But these rankings will keep y’all abreast of how I am feeling about certain guys, and the merits behind their ranking, throughout the course of the season.
Until then … Noon, Eastern time (if not earlier, like today).
Every single Sunday. OK?
We are publishing our first edition of the Most Improved Player rankings tomorrow. We’ve been rankings the rookies since the preseason, and those get published every Thursday. We also have Mark Heisler, who has been inducted into the media wing of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, doing team by team Power Rankings every Wednesday. Those, too, are meaningless — but still fun, as Mr. Heisler will often point out while he overrewards and overpunishes teams on a week-to-week basis, but never in a hostile fashion. Mark is too nice of a guy for that. Oh, and we do Euroleague Rankings, too.
OK, that’s enough disclaimer material.
Onto the rankings …