Sheridan Hoops MVP Rankings after Week Eight

1LeBRON JAMES, F, MIAMI: Not sure which streak to focus on — the 20 or more points in every game this season, and 45 in a row dating back to last year, or the fact that he hasn’t been called for a personal foul for six straight games. Of the 28 players shooting 50 percent or better from the field, James (.542) has attempted more shots than all but one of them — the guys listed next, who is at .521.3
2KEVIN DURANT, F, OKLAHOMA CITY: How many double-digit winning streaks are these guys going to run off this season? Tough loss at Minny on second-night of back-to-back ended last one at 12, and KD shot 50 percent or better in nine of those games — the most impressive of which as their 14-point dismantling of the Spurs, who still have no answer for Serge Ibaka unless they go bargain basement shopping.2
3CARMELO ANTHONY, F, NEW YORK: Now is when we see how valuable he truly is, because he is going to have to eventually find a way to be effective playing with Amar’e Stoudemire, who the Knicks tried to give away for nothing over the summer, according to the New York Times. Melo has been playing the 4, where he is too quick for opposing big men to contain, and who has been thriving from 3-point range (.448) because opposing 4s aren’t used to defending that far from the basket. Could we be on the verge of the Knicks’ first crisis?1
4<CHRIS PAUL, G, L.A. CLIPPERS: Yes, he probably should have cracked the Top 10 last week, but we’ve been spreading the Clipper love around pretty evenly between Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford without giving CP3 his props. Here’s a stat for y’all: During their current 12-game winning streak Paul has 112 assists vs. just 23 turnovers – four of which came Friday night against Sacto. Leads the league in steals (2.62) by a lot and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.3-1) by even more. Still, if you follow the L.A. media closely, you’d be certain that the most important PG in town is Steve Nash.
5DAVID LEE, F, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Didn’t quite go 30-20 against the Lakers on Saturday night as we guessed he might, but he could have used some help. Dubs’ bench was outscored by Lakers’ bench 46-41, and enough of Kobe’s 41 shots fell to prevent a raucous crowd from going home happier than they’ve been in years — seriously. Steph Curry has been a machine lately, but D.Lee has ben doing it consistently through the first two months of the season and thus retains the Dubs’ designated spot in these rankings.4
6TONY PARKER, G, SAN ANTONIO: We’ll allow him to retain top billing for the Spurs because he holds slight edges in FG pct (.504 to.499), FT pct. (.826 to .802) and scoring (19.0 to 17.5) over cohort Tim Duncan. But a case can be made that two members of the Thunder (Russell Westbrook being the other) should be sitting atop any two Spurs, to which we retort — it’s early, still, folks. And we are not writing off Popovich’s cleverness nor R.C. Buford’s creativity. Just wait til these guys land a center. There are a lot to be had (Cousins, Varejao, Jefferson).5
7KOBE BRYANT, G, L.A. LAKERS: Can’t keep him off the list for two straight weeks. You just can’t. Leads the league in scoring, has been huge in the clutch while the Lakers have been treading water, and never ceases to amaze. Ever. It’s now eight straight games with 30 or more points, the last four of which have been victories. Maybe these guys will be relevant late in the season after all, eh? They are now just one win shy of .500. Kobe’s points over/under for Christmas matchup with Knicks is 39.5. Wager amongst yourselves.
8ZACH RANDOLPH, F, MEMPHIS: Drops one spot every week in these rankings, and has mailed it in twice recently — losing by 25 at Houston? Title contenders aren’t supposed to do stuff like that. Has eclipsed 20 points only twice in the past 17 games, but has had double-doubles in 13 of those games. The opinion here is that the Grizzlies are a great team because of the sum of their parts, but this particular piece is most indispensable. Expecting a bounce-back week (especially against Philly) that justifies this ranking.7
9RUSSELL WESTBROOK, G, OKLAHOMA CITY: Shooting a career-high .352 from 3-point range, which is stunning because it is so low for a guy who played off the ball at shooting guard for UCLA. Scott Brooks should lock him in the gym and make him take 2,000 3-point shots a day between now and New Year’s Eve. Because if this guy ever shot it in the mid-40s, Westbrook’s team would have the one component it is missing — a third dead-eye shooter to complement KD and K-Mart. Russ is at a respectable 78.9 pct on FTs, ranking him 5th among OKC’s starters.8
10TIM DUNCAN, F-C, SAN ANTONIO: Figured he’d move up after being dropped from 1 to 10 in last week’s rankings, because these things tend to even themselves out. But Serge Ibaka ate him up in OKC’s romp over the rival they increasingly seem to own, and even Timmy’s 31-18-6-5 game against Nuggets (latter two are assists and blocks) and his ascension above 80 percent from the line do not override a two-loss week.10

DROPPED OUT: Blake Griffin (6), O.J. Mayo (9).

TEAMS CONSPICUOUSLY UNREPRESENTED: Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves.

OTHER RANKINGS: Most Improved | Rookie | Heisler’s Power Rankings | Euroleague


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