Comparing NBA MVP Candidates to the 2011 Best Picture Nominees


The NBA season is over two thirds complete, so what better way to look at MVP candidates than to parallel them with my ranking of the Best Picture nominees for this Sunday’s Academy Awards.

With my Minnesota Timberwolves playing as poorly as they have this season, I’ve been able to catch plenty of movies this winter.

Lets get to it. (Note: All stats are through Thursday February 24th.)


10) Amar’e Stoudemire- Winter’s bone

Averaging 26 points per game ranks him third in the league in scoring. But with Mike D’Antoni’s wide-open system, those numbers are slightly skewed.

The title of the corresponding movie represents Amar’e’s physical reaction to news that Carmelo Anthony will join him in The Big Apple.


9) Chris Paul- The Kids Are Alright

16.3 points and 9.6 assists per game are both down from his averages during the past three seasons. Yet so is fan support, significantly.

Their owners– the owners of the other 29 teams in the league– were saying “The Kids Are Alright” when they decided to add salary to an already losing money franchise by trading for Sacramento’s Kyle Lowry. Well everyone except Mark Cuban.


8) Dirk Nowitzki- The Fighter

(Dirk has the Mavericks in second place in the West, but is it enough to win another MVP?)



Averaging 22.9 points is alright, but Dirk’s 6.6 rebounds per game is his lowest average since the 1999-2000 season (6.5). The Mavericks currently sit 2nd in the West, but Dirk’s numbers aren’t turning heads.

There is no real comparison between Dirk and The Fighter, rankings wise they just matched up. My apologies.


7) Dwyane Wade- Inception

Fifth in the league in scoring at 25.5 point per night, it’s Wade’s lowest since the 2007-08 season. He’s shooting at his highest field-goal percentage of his career. He slides to seven due to LeBron James and Chris Bosh’s addition to the lineup.

The Heat are far better this season, but what’s hurting Wade is that he’s the common denominator.

Much like Leo’s wife, Mal, in Inception, Wade must feel like he’s living in his perfect dream world playing alongside LeBron.


6) Kevin Durant- Toy Story 3

Much like Toy Story 3, Durant play like a cartoon at times. His absurd skill and length seem almost unrealistic.

His numbers (28.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game) would traditionally have him higher on the MVP list, but the emergence of Russell Westbrook hurts Durant’s MVP hopes, ever so lightly.

(While Kevin Durant may have a friend in Jeff Green, he doesn't have him as a teammate anymore.)


Speaking of Westbrook…


5) Russell Westbrook- 127 Hours

22.1 points, 8.5 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game this season.

Westbrook has always been similar to 127 Hours’ star James Franco; always that guy alongside other big names. Like Franco to Toby Maguire in the Spiderman trilogy, at UCLA Westbrook was that guy alongside Kevin Love. Like Franco alongside Sean Penn in Milk, Westbrook was that guy alongside Durant in Oklahoma City.

While still playing alongside Durant, Westbrook has expanded his game to a level where he is, at times, facilitating most of KD’s opportunities, and he’s their go-to guy in crunch time.


4) Dwight Howard- The Social Network

23 points per game, a career high. 13.9 rebounds per game, second most in his career. Some, a la the Golden Globes with The Social Network, may think he deserves to win the award.

The Magic’s fourth place position in the East drops him a few notches in my opinion.

If you watched Howard in the All-Star game last week, you could see the only reason he was there, to be social and to network.


3) Kobe Bryant- True Grit

His 25.2 points per game is his lowest since 2003-04, but his leadership on the third place Lakers has kept them afloat while Phil Jackson sits catatonic on the Lakers bench.

Now 32 and in his 14th year in the league, true grit is what Kobe brings to the floor every night.


2) LeBron James- The King’s Speech

The narcissistic speech King James gave last summer is becoming overshadowed by his amazing play this season. Many, including myself, thought James would take a sidekick role alongside Dwyane Wade. Yet it seems as though the inverse has become the case.

Sure his numbers are down from last year, but James has co-existed with Wade and Chris Bosh far better than anyone could’ve possibly imagined.


1) Derrick Rose- Black Swan

Rose has blossomed into elite status this season. He has the Bulls sitting third in the East; just 2.5 games back of first place Boston. Rose is averaging 25 points per game, which is up 4.2 from last season. His 8.2 assists per game are up 2.2 from last year.

Much like Natalie Portman, Rose’s is reaching his potential far quicker than many could’ve imagined.

The impressive part is that Rose has put up his steler numbers with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer being out for most of the season due to injury. That the same as if Natalie Portman didn’t have Mila Kunis or Winona Ryder in Black Swan, her supporting cast.

The Academy Awards will be decided this Sunday, but for the NBA MVP the votes are not yet in, which should provide for an exciting last two months of the season.

-Brett Cloutier

Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank as beat writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Gopher hockey team. He is also the co-host of ‘The Backdoor Cut,’ a Minneapolis based sports and pop culture themed radio show. The show is also podcasted.

You can follow Brett on Twitter @brettcloutier


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