(All stats and records are through March 16.)<br><br>Nowitzki, the 2007 winner, keeps doing what he does best: The Mavericks are 14-6 on the nights he has scored 30 points or more, and he is averaging 25.5 points for the season.
2 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Deron Williams | Utah Jazz
After struggling with an ankle injury early in the season, Williams has fueled the Jazz's second-half surge. He ranks second in the league in assists (10.6) to go with 18.8 points. He had a five-game stretch earlier this season in which he scored 30 or more and shot 50 percent or better -- the first guard to do that since Michael Jordan in 1996.
3 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Brandon Roy | Portland Trail Blazers
If he wasn't already the Blazers' best player and a repeat All-Star, Roy would be a top pick for Most Improved: His 23.1 scoring average ranks seventh in the league, after he placed 35th in 2007-08. Among Western Conference guards, only Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul surpass Roy's total of points, rebounds and assists (32.8 per game).
4 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
Tim Duncan | San Antonio Spurs
With Manu Ginobili missing 26 of the first 65 games, Tony Parker and Duncan have split the load and the credit. Parker averages an extra 5.4 points when Ginobili is sidelined. But Duncan has boosted his game, too: He has 10 games with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists -- something LeBron James has done eight times this season, Chris Bosh four times and no one else in the NBA more than three times.
5 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
Chauncey Billups | Denver Nuggets
Denver has 10 more victories than Detroit, Exhibit A for Billups and his trade from the Pistons to the Nuggets. Other evidence: His 18.7 scoring average is a career best and he has imposed order on Denver's attack, reminding teammates of the value of sharing (the Nuggets are 28-5 when they total 22 assists or more, 9-1 when Billups dishes 10-plus).
6 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
Chris Paul | New Orleans Hornets
If Dwyane Wade's statistical case doesn't earn him unofficial Player of the Year status (as opposed to official MVP), this guy's might. Paul leads the league in assists (11.0), steals (2.8) and triple-doubles (six), and has had four games of at least 25 points and 15 assists. Paul -- whose Hornets aren't likely to match last season's 56-26 record -- is also setting career bests in scoring (21.9) and shooting (50.2 percent).
7 of 10Greg Nelson/SI
Dwight Howard | Orlando Magic
Howard has 52 double-doubles, including seven of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. He tops the NBA in rebounding and shot-blocking, and his defensive presence drives the Magic: Orlando ranks in the top 10 in seven defensive categories, is 35-7 when it holds teams under 100 points and 17-0 when foes shoot less than 40 percent.
8 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Kobe Bryant | Los Angeles Lakers
Eleven players have won multiple MVP awards, and many believe Bryant -- whose Lakers have turned the Western Conference race into a runaway (nine-game lead over San Antonio with 16 games to go) -- should be the 12th. He has led L.A. to the league's best road record (23-9), including the 6-0 trek from Jan. 30 through Feb. 8 that included victories at Boston and at Cleveland. Bryant averaged 32.8 points on the trip.
9 of 10Bill Frakes/SI
Dwyane Wade | Miami Heat
It might be easier to list the things Wade hasn't done for the Heat: A Miami player other than him has led the team in scoring only eight times in 66 games, and someone not named Dwyane has led in assists just 15 times. Since the All-Star break, Wade -- who hasn't missed a game, playing more already than in three of his first five seasons -- has gotten stronger, averaging 35.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 9.9 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks, while shooting 54.2 percent.
10 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
LeBron James | Cleveland Cavaliers
It's one thing for a player to be "all-everything'' for an also-ran, but James takes it to new levels of individual and team success. He leads the Cavs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, and has them on pace to win 66 games. The other three players since 1973 to lead in all those categories helped their clubs win considerably less often -- Boston's Dave Cowens in 1977-78 (32 victories), Chicago's Scottie Pippen in 1994-95 (47) and Minnesota's Kevin Garnett in 2002-03 (51).
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