|LeBron and Melo are both in the MVP talk this season. (Getty Images)|
The MVP race is shaping up to be one of the most compelling in years. LeBron James, the reigning award-winner, has done nothing but elevate his game, with career highs in rebounding and shooting efficiency. Kevin Durant has also somehow gotten better and is aiming to be the first scoring leader in history to average 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the arc, 90 percent from the line.
On the outside is Carmelo Anthony, whose best case is the Knicks' improved ball movement, his singular scoring ability, and an improved defensive effort. Making the Knicks title contenders may be his only way to top the other two, but he's in the conversation. Ask Melo about the race, though? He's not willing to give up the crown yet, but puts his friend LeBron at the top. From Adam Zagoria:
“It's early,” Anthony said after practice Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's game against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden.
“It's All-Star break right now. I mean, he's definitely playing like a Most Valuable Player, so we'll see what happens when it comes to that.”
“That's crazy,” Anthony said [about LeBron's last five games]. “What he's doing right now is unbelievable. He's scored 30-something points on 11 shots and 10-for-12 and things like that. I mean, he's on an incredible run right now. I've never [seen] nothing like it.”
Nice set of quotes, there. Compliments his friend who is playing out of his mind, maintains that the season's not over to leave the door open for himself, and remarks on LeBron's recent insanity from the field.
Melo likely considers the gap between him and Durant closer, as they're both primarily volume scorers. Durant has a higher rebounding percentage (of available boards), and is shooting at a much higher clip, though, at 52 percent to Melo's 45 percent.
But Melo's reaction is the same as most people's. After watching this last five-game stretch by LeBron, can anyone beat him out of what would be his second consecutive, and fourth overall, MVP award?