The race for the NBA MVP has become one of the most contested races this year due to the spectalar perfomace of the various stars of today’s game.

Paul Pierce:

26.8 points, 4.7 assists, 6.7 rebounds per game

Paul Pierce was perhaps the breakout megastar this season for the Boston Celtics. He has changed his game to suit the teams’ need for consistent production throughout the season, while taking on a more vocal leadership role to complement the Celtics’ never-ending quest to rebuild. Pierce kept the team in the playoff hunt deep into the season, something no one thought possible given the lack of talent on the team. His odds to win the MVP would be better if he had gotten his team into the playoffs, but the overall youth and some questionable coaching has prevented the team from breaking through. Odds: 30-1

Steve Nash:

18.9 points, 10.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds per game

Last year’s MVP continued his tremendous play this season. While the team lost several key members from last years playoff team, Nash seamlessly introduced the new players into the rotation. His ability to distribute the ball led to a career year for teammate Boris Diaw.

However, because his defense is in the gutter, Nash is not considered an all-around player, oftentimes compared to Jason Kidd – neither player developed into much of a defender. However, if voters are inclined to go purely on offensive talent, look for Steve Nash to capture his second straight title. Odds: 10-1

Kobe Bryant:

35.4 points, 4.5 assists, 5.3 rebounds per game

One of the top ten players of any era, Kobe Bryant took over the team and never looked back. Scoring 81 points against the Raptors Bryant solidified his legacy as one of the best players of all time.

Disregarding character issues, including a rape allegation, Bryant does everything he can to get his team a win. His defense is very solid, giving him the all-important distinction as an all-around player.

Carrying this Lakers team to the playoffs was no small feat, especially withlayers like Kwame Brown on the court. However, his arrogant persona and his tendency to take too many shots might cost him votes. He did the best he could with the talent around him, allowing the management to perhaps bring in scoring help during free agency to take a load off his shoulders for next year. Odds: 5-1

Dwyane Wade:

27.2 points, 6.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds per game

Dwyane Wade burst onto the scene last year with a great postseason and carried it into this season. He led the Heat while Shaq was out with a myriad of physical problems. His speed and quickness to the hoop keeps defenses honest and allows players like Antoine Walker to flourish.

Along with Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, Wade has become the new look of the NBA, emphasizing quickness and flair as much as fundamentals. He is going to be re-signed to a maximum contract by some team over the summer. Odds: 5-1

LeBron James:

31.4 points, 6.6 assists, 7 rebounds per game

The new face of the NBA since Michael Jordan is definitely LeBron. Since coming out of high school as the first pick, James has revitalized a Cavaliers franchise that was wallowing in the dregs of the Eastern Conference and turned it into a legit powerhouse team.

Leading the team into the playoffs for the first time since ’97, LeBron has become the face of not only the city but also the team.

Every decision about player personnel has been channeled through him and it is expected that he will re-sign with the team that drafted him.

Breaking every scoring record in sight, LeBron has also become a decent defensive player over the last several years. With an addition of a true center, LeBron can take this team all the way to a championship and nab the only award that has been eluding him since he joined the NBA. Odds: 2-1

Maystrovsky can be reached at dmays@campustimes.org.



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