NBA MVP Watch by the Numbers (2/18/13)

Who's better: George Hill or Kobe Bryant? This season, I'm taking the one in Pacers blue.

After an exciting All-Star Game, in which Chris Paul wowed the world once again, the NBA is set for the season's homestretch.

Overall Top Ten

1. Kevin Durant - Durant scores in bunches, but he's never been wholly efficient. Durant's previous career-high offensive rating was at 117.8 points per 100 possessions during the 2009-2010 season, which placed him 15th overall in the NBA. That has changed this season, though--Durant's 124.5 offensive rating is third in the league.

2. LeBron James - Some players falter when they rush the shot. Those players aren't LeBron James. The forward is shooting an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of .686 in the first ten seconds of the shot clock. And that's not all fast breaks; only six percent of his total shots have been dunks this year.

3. Chris Paul - I've talked a lot about Tyson Chandler's quest for the offensive rating record. Lost in the shuffle, though, is that Chris Paul's current 127.7 rating would be 10th-best all-time and second for a guard behind Reggie Miller's 129.6 rating in the '90-91 season.

4. Tyson Chandler - Tyson Chandler's 137.1 offensive rating isn't his only top-of-the-charts number. His current .673 eFG% would finish fourth all-time, behind two seasons from Wilt Chamberlain ('72-73 and '66-67) and, well, Chandler's own .678 eFG% from last season.

5. Tony Parker - With Duncan and Ginobili, Parker has never been forced to have the ball in his hands. That trend is changing this year, however, as Parker's 12th-ranked 27.9 percent usage rating has him in the top 20 of the category for the first time since '08-09.

6. Blake Griffin - With the amount of injuries for the Clippers, it really is amazing that they're still in third in the West. Only one player has played over 60 percent of the team's minutes this season: Griffin, at 65 percent total. In comparison, the Heat have three players (the Big Three) above 60 percent.

7. James Harden - Harden's 116 offensive rating is actually his lowest since his rookie season. But that's offset by his amount of time with the ball - his 29.2 percent usage rating is 7.6 percent higher than his previous career high.

8. Marc Gasol - Gasol may be known for his point scoring ability, but he's become on of the top ten NBA players due to his defense. His 98.8 defensive rating (12th) and 3.9 percent block rate (20th) would be his first time finishing in the top 20 in either category if he's able to maintain the rate.

9. Chris Bosh - In Miami Year 3, Bosh is learning how to be more efficient. His 118 offensive rating is a career-high and 11th in the NBA. So even though his 22.9 percent usage rating is his lowest of his three seasons in Miami, his current 18.8 points per game is his highest.

10. Tim Duncan - Duncan and his NBA-leading 94.0 defensive rating may be the centerpiece to one of the best defensive lineups of all-time. According to, the five of Duncan, Splitter, Leonard, Green, and Parker allow a defensive rating of only 87 when on the court.

The Jefferson-Sponsored Movin' On Up

George Hill: Two Weeks Ago No. 23, This Week No. 13

Not expecting Hill to be a top five point guard, let alone one of the top 15 players in the league? You should have. We had him as our starting point guard on the ideal Eastern Conference All-Star team, even before Rajon Rondo become Dr. James Andrews' newest paycheck, and he has the Pacers in third in the Eastern Conference.

It's not a matter of insane statistics for Hill. He falls 6.2 percent short of being in the top 20 of assist percentage. His .509 eFG% falls .040 short of Ryan Anderson's 20th place mark. And his 102 defensive rating is actually the worst among Indiana's full-time starters. On the surface, he has less than going for him than the Pacers' official NBA Title banner maker.

For Hill, though, it all falls back on one idea: why be great at one thing when you can be good at everything? His 11.9 turnover percentage is better than Chris Paul, Tony Parker, and Russell Westbrook. His 102 defensive rating is better than Parker and Westbrook as well. His 114 offensive rating (which leads the Pacers) is in the NBA's top 25, and that 24.7 percent assist rate is the best of his career by nearly six percent. It's safe to say that he's doing everything right.

Tom Petty Honorary Free Faller

Kobe Bryant: Two Weeks Ago No. 9, This Week No. 19

124, 125, 140. What do those three numbers have in common? They are Kobe Bryant's defensive ratings in the Lakers' last three losses, coming against the Celtics, Heat, and Clippers.

I know, it's not fair to judge a guy's defensive prowess against two of the top offensive teams in the league (and Boston). But Kobe's worst-since-2006 108 defensive rating is only one facet of his game that has started to go downhill. Add to that Kobe's highest-since-2005 turnover rate of 13.1 percent of possessions, and the Lakers star is falling flat in two key aspects of the game.

When compared with his offensive prowess, his recent play looks even worse. His offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) has topped his defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) only twice in eight February games - and those "successful" ones were a nine-point margin against Minnesota and a one-points margin against Charlotte. Against Detroit, Boston, and Phoenix, among others, Kobe allowed more points per possession than he scored.

Top Five by Primary Position

Point Guard
1. Chris Paul (No. 3 overall)
2. Tony Parker (No. 5)
3. George Hill (No. 13)
4. Russell Westbrook (No. 16)
5. Jose Calderon (No. 27)

Shooting Guard
1. James Harden (No. 7)
3. Dwyane Wade (No. 15)
2. Kobe Bryant (No. 19)
4. Kevin Martin (No. 20)
5. Jason Kidd (No. 45)

Small Forward
1. Kevin Durant (No. 1)
5. Paul George (No. 22)
2. Danilo Gallinari (No. 25)
3. Kyle Korver (No. 26)
4. Kawhi Leonard (No. 37)

Power Forward
1. LeBron James (No. 2)
2. Blake Griffin (No. 5)
3. Carmelo Anthony (No. 11)
4. David West (No. 12)
5. Kenneth Faried (No. 17)

1. Tyson Chandler (No. 4)
2. Marc Gasol (No. 8)
3. Chris Bosh (No. 9)
4. Tim Duncan (No. 10)
5. Brook Lopez (No. 14)

These numbers are based off of our Top 25 rankings provided by numberFire to Slam Online, which you can find there every Monday afternoon.