NBA MVP Power Rankings: LeBron James Reigns, Kobe Bryant Challenges

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 19: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat is guarded by Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

LeBron James remains atop the SBNation.com NBA MVP Power Rankings, but Kobe Bryant has supplanted Kevin Durant and is offering up a challenge.

LeBron James remains the king of the SBNation.com NBA MVP Power Rankings as we enter February, but there's a switch at No. 2 as Kobe Bryant crawls past Kevin Durant on the strength of a well-rounded floor game.

Further down the board, Kyle Lowry falls out of the top 10 as his individual performance slides, and Dwight Howard moves down a few spots. Chris Paul, back at the head of the hot L.A. Clippers, is climbing back up the board.

All stats are through Tuesday's action and via Basketball-Reference.com.

Rk Player Team Stats Prev.
1. LeBron James Heat 29.2 points on .620 TS%, 8.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists 1
The last player to average more than 29 points on a True Shooting percentage better than 62 percent was Karl Malone in 1990. The only other player in history to do it: Adrian Dantley, who accomplished the task five times in six season in the suped-up early '80s. That's an interesting if unusual comp for this version of LeBron: Adrian Dantley transported to the 2010s, fed spinach and stuck on fast-forward.
2. Kobe Bryant Lakers 30.0 points on .541 TS%, 6.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists 3
Kobe hasn't been just the top scorer among two-guards this season, but he's also one of the best rebounders and the best playmaker. If you close your eyes and look at the numbers, he's been disturbingly Wade-like.
3. Kevin Durant Thunder 26.8 points on .613 TS%, 7.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists 2
What a season from Durant, who is an impossibly efficient scorer and would be considered the league's most deadly if not for LeBron. There remain concerns about the Thunder's late-game offense primarily because KD has trouble getting open against physical defenders, but thanks to Durant's scorer prowess and improving rebounding, Oklahoma City should be in a position to win most of its games.
4. Derrick Rose Bulls 23.3 points on .565 TS%, 7.8 assists 6
D-Rose has definitely been better this season than in 2010-11, when he claimed the MVP. That he's not touching the top couple of candidates says something about those guys are playing. Otherwise, Rose has been amazing.
5. Kevin Love Timberwolves 25.5 points on .582 TS%, 13.5 rebounds 5
As the nation begins to notice that Minnesota is no longer terrible, Love appreciation should grow. Guys who can rebound and score this well are a rare breed.
6. Dwight Howard Magic 20.0 points on .544 TS%, 15.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks 4
Dwight's lower-than-usual True Shooting percentage is a real concern; Orlando isn't used to seeing the center score at league-average efficiency. They are accustomed to much more. His free throw shooting percentage has shrunk from a career 59 percent to 46 percent this season, and that explains a little over half of his drop from last season's 61.6 percent TS%. The rest is in lower efficiency from the field.
7. LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers 22.6 points on .545 TS%, 8.8 rebounds 8
Aldridge has been really consistent on offense this season. He's scored in double-digits in every game, has fallen below 15 points just three times in 21 games, and has hit the 20-point mark 15 times. In terms of efficiency, he has shot worse than 40 percent just once this season (7-21 in a loss to Houston).
8. Chris Paul Clippers 18.1 points on .598 TS%, 8.9 assists, 2.5 steals 10
There's a feeling that those back-to-back wins over the Nuggets and Thunder constituted a turning point for the Clippers, and CP3's floor game would have been the dominant story if not for Blake Griffin's maiming of Kendrick Perkins. By the end of the season, once his games played number catches up, he should be right near the top of this list.
9. Kyrie Irving Cavaliers 18.1 points on .597 TS%, 4.9 assists 9
Kyrie is flirting with putting up the best rookie season by a guard since Chris Paul. CP3, of course, had put up the best rookie season for a guard since Jordan. The rook's just a pleasure to watch, and he may be forcing Chris Grant to rewrite the team's blueprint back to contention to shrink the calendar significantly.
10. Russell Westbrook Thunder 21.3 points on .525 TS%, 5.8 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 steals Unranked
KD has help in OKC, of course, and Westbrook is the most important complement. According to 82games.com, opponents are shooting an effective field goal percentage of 44.1 percent against Russ. Thabo Sefolosha gets a lot of defensive credit, but Westbrook handles himself as well as any point guard not named Rajon Rondo at the position.

Others receiving consideration: Kyle Lowry, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Blake Griffin, Greg Monroe, Travis Outlaw.

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