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1984
02-08-2013, 10:25 PM
http://www.nba.com/mvp-ladder/2012-13/index.html


Honors Come Quick To Phenom GeorgeFeb. 8 -- Ryan Anderson, Steve Novak, Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving and Matt Bonner would all be classified as usual suspects in any shooting contest, particularly one that includes the 3-point line.


But Paul George in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest during All-Star Weekend?


The Indiana Pacers' All-Star swingman as a sharpshooter seems a bit odd, until you check the tape.


The 6-foot-9, 221-pound George is more than just a slasher and high riser (he was robbed in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest in Orlando last year). He's a 39 percent 3-point shooter this season, more than respectable for a player his size, and a guy with a natural shooting stroke that might lend itself to the contest atmosphere.


It's just the latest in a string of season highlights for George, who joins the ranks of the top 10 this week on the Kia Race to the MVP Ladder. That's a nod to George and his work this season as well as to the Pacers' rebound from some early season stumbles.


In just his third season in the league, George has served notice that he belongs among the league's elite talents in several categories. He's helped lead the Pacers into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference during Danny Granger's absence by assuming both an increased scoring role and perimeter defensive duties for a Pacers team that is viewed as a legitimate playoff threat to the Miami Heat's Eastern Conference supremacy.


George, 22, is a five-tool prospect -- he has the size, athleticism, offensive arsenal, defensive acumen and has shown flashes of the star power needed to be a franchise player -- every franchise covets.


"There's a reason people fell in love with this guy in the lead up to the (2010) Draft," a Western Conference executive said. "You just wondered if he'd ever shed that baby skin and really become an aggressive scorer and defender at this level. But the resources were always in place.


"This guy handles the ball as well as any shooting guard in the league but he's long and athletic and can play inside and out. And he's one of the best finishers at the rim in the entire league. He's got the total package."


George is the first member of the 2010 Draft class to make an All-Star team, beating John Wall, Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe (among others) there and is poised to make a few more trips before he's done.


"I don't want to be cocky in any way, but I knew this is the level I could play at," George said after being named an All-Star reserve. "I've always been confident in myself ... [and] I should be able to make it back to another [All-Star] game."


The Next Five: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs; Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets; Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls; Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavs; James Harden, Houston Rockets


Falling out: Zach Randolph; Memphis Grizzlies


Got something to say about this week's Race to the MVP Ladder? Give us a shout!


1LeBron James : Miami Heat
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 27.0 ppg | 10.7 rpg | 7.0 apg | 2.0 spg
Once you start toying around in Wilt Chamberlain territory, as LeBron did with his wicked effort in a win over Charlotte Monday. What makes him so special, though, is the fact that he views historic performances like that one as just a routine day at the office. And he did follow that showing up with 32 points (on 11-for-18 shooting), six assists, five rebounds and two blocks in a blowout win over Houston. You can bet he'll be at his usual best tonight (8 ET, ESPN) against the Los Angeles Clippers at home.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Scores 31 against Rockets
Scores 31 vs. Bobcats
Flirts with triple-double vs. Raptors
Scores 28 in loss to Indy
> James' stats & bio


2Kevin Durant : Oklahoma City Thunder
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 25.8 ppg | 8.8 rpg | 4.3 apg | 1.5 spg
Durant was at his versatile best in the Thunder's impressive win over the Golden State Warriors Wednesday. He needed just 31 minutes to drop 25 points, on 10-for-18 shooting (2-for-3 from deep and 3-for-4 from the free throw line), seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. Durant's game has evolved in many ways over the past three seasons. He is no longer just an elite scorer. He's so much more than that these days.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Scores 25 against Warriors
Double-double vs. Mavs
Scores 31 in loss to Cavs
Drops 27 vs. Grizz
> Durant's stats & bio


3Carmelo Anthony : New York Knicks
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 23.0 ppg | 6.8 rpg | 4.3 apg | 0.5 spg
The Knicks have won eight of their past 11 games and Anthony has been on a nice run during that stretch, averaging 26.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists while connecting on just 42 percent of his shots from the floor. His shooting percentage has dipped considerably since December (48 percent) to his current 42 percent. But with Amar'e Stoudemire back in the lineup he's had to adjust his game to accommodate the Knicks' other primary frontcourt scoring option.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Has 31 in loss to Wizards
Goes for 27 vs. Pistons
Quiet night vs. Kings
Scores 25 against Bucks
> Anthony's stats & bio


4Tony Parker : San Antonio Spurs
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 25.0 ppg | 4.5 rpg | 10.0 apg | 1.0 spg
Take whatever time you need, Tim Duncan. Mr. Parker has things under control. The All-Star point guard has been the tip of the spear during the Spurs' 11-game (and counting) win streak. He's shredding teams with his scoring and passing, too, as you might expect one of the league's truly elite point guards to do. He dropped 12 assists and 19 points in a win over the Washington Wizards Saturday and then lit the Minnesota Timberwolves up for 31 points and eight assists Wednesday.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Goes for 31 points in Minny
Solid double-double vs. Wizards
> Parker's stats & bio


5Chris Paul : Los Angeles Clippers
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): None (sat out due to kneecap injury)
Paul couldn't choose a better time to return to action than tonight's showdown against the Heat in Miami. The Clippers need him back in the lineup as soon as humanly possible. A bruised knee cap is a tricky injury, especially for a player who relies on his quickness as much as Paul does. The bottom line is this, the Clippers, as deep as they are, go from an elite team with a healthy Paul in the lineup to a .500 team (6-6 in the 12 games he's missed) without him.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Sat out this week's games
> Paul's stats & bio


6Kobe Bryant : Los Angeles Lakers
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 20.8 ppg | 7.5 rpg | 4.3 apg | 1.5 spg
No matter where the Kobe-Dwight Howard drama takes us, Bryant can at least point to his own productivity this season as one of the few bright spots for a Lakers team devoid of them. His Magic Johnson-esque assist run came to a screeching halt last night in Boston, where he finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and a goose egg in dimes. Leading this group to a playoff bid is going to take everything Kobe has in him. And even that might not be enough if Howard and Pau Gasol are both missing in action for a significant amount of time down the stretch of the season.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Scores 27, but L.A. gets routed
Burns Nets for 21 points
Goes for 18 against Pistons
Near triple-double vs. Wolves
> Bryant's stats & bio


7Stephen Curry : Golden State Warriors
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 16.7 ppg | 4.7 rpg | 9.3 apg | 1.0 spg
Curry shot the cover off of the ball Saturday night against Phoenix, draining six of his 10 shots from 3-point range in the Warriors' 113-93 win. But he struggled in his next two outings, going just 8-for-32 from the floor (3-for-12 from deep) in back-to-back losses to the Rockets and Warriors. He has a chance to get back on track tonight against a Memphis Grizzlies team that is struggling to get it together after the Rudy Gay trade. But it all starts with his shot. When he's on, the Warriors are a different monster.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Quiet night vs. Westbrook, OKC
Held to seven points vs. Rockets
Torches Suns for 29 points
> Curry's stats & bio


8Russell Westbrook : Oklahoma City Thunder
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 23.8 ppg | 4.3 rpg | 5.8 apg | 2.8 spg
Westbrook shook off a turbulent week and settled right back into the groove that landed him on this list in the first place. In back-to-back wins over the Mavericks and Warriors, Westbrook piled up 46 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and just five turnovers. As great as Durant is, the Thunder's season hinges on the play of their All-Star point guard and whether or not he remains this steady in the postseason.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Outplays Curry, Warriors
Efficient against Mavs
Goes for 28 points vs. Cavs
Drops 21 on Grizz
> Westbrook's stats & bio


9LaMarcus Aldridge : Portland Trail Blazers
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 21.5 ppg | 11.0 rpg | 3.0 apg | 1.3 bpg
The league's premier power forward this season, Aldridge has posted double doubles in eight of his past 10 games and six straight heading into tonight's game against the Rockets in Houston. The Trail Blazers are getting All-Star caliber work from their rookie point guard (Damian Lillard) and Aldridge, who is averaging 21.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in his last 10 games. He's been on a rebounding tear since Jan. 1, averaging 10.6 boards a night, well above his career numbers (7.7) to date.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Solid in loss to Mavs
Drops 25 points on Wolves
Double-double in win vs. Utah
Held to 16 points vs. Jazz
> Aldridge's stats & bio


10Paul George : Indiana Pacers
STATS FROM LAST WEEK (1/31-2/7): 20.0 ppg | 6.8 rpg | 5.3 apg | 1.8 spg
If you haven't watched the Pacers play this season, you are missing out on not only one of the best teams in the league but also the meteoric rise of one of the best young talents in the league in George. In Danny Granger's absence, George has become the surprising catalyst for a top-three team in the Eastern Conference. Proficient inside and out, and on both ends of the floor, George is averaging 20.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.2 steals in his last 10 games.
IN LAST WEEK'S GAMES (JAN. 31-FEB. 7):
Scores 15 against Sixers
Burns Hawks for 29 points
Double-double against Bulls
Solid overall as Pacers top Heat
> George's stats & bio