Its pretty self-explanatory, is it not? The MVP award goes to the player who’s ‘most valuable’ to their team. Every year you will read plenty of would be experts state that the award should go to the ‘best player on the best team’ or some other golden rule that ignores the obvious. Player X is the most effectively being promoted by the NBA in that given year and their rule favors player x. Typically the guy who’s leading the league in scoring or is from a successful Boston/LA/NYC team.
But that’s not what the award is for. They already have an award for the best player on the best team. Its called the NBA championship and finals MVP. A much better award as it’s earned instead of anointed, but I digress. What’s happened in recent years has just obscured any meaning behind the most important individual regular season award.
Don’t get me wrong: team success is important. But lets look what’s happening. Since the all star break Wade is averaging a ridiculous 35.3 PPG, 10.7 APG, 2.7 steals, 1.8 blocks per game. Lets compare his numbers against Kobe and Lebron. I don’t know about you, but when you are listed as third in the MVP race, against two players considered to be the best in the world yet are averaging more steals and almost identicle assists/blocks then the two candidates ahead of you, COMBINED, and oh yea, scoring 5 and a half more points then either, something is wrong.
Still, general consensus is that Kobe and Lebron are in a two man heat. Forget that no one since Jordan has played at this level. A few include Wade if the Heat get 50 wins. Which has everything to do with starting a rookie at point and a way past his prime center and nothing to do with Wade being the most important and valuable player on any team that matters (or doesn’t) in the NBA.
From a historical standpoint I have not seen a single player take a bottom feeder team and make them win like this since Grant Hill’s Pistons won 54 games. Except he had gamers like Dumars and Lindsay Hunter, Otis Thorpe and Theo Ratlif (before he was a contract). In the locker room vets like Ric Mahorn, and Kenny Smith in the locker room. Hill should have won MVP that year yet similar to Wade was behind Jordan and Karl “I’m the MVP” Malone. (the single worst choice ever).
Maurice Brooks of ESPN wrote recently:
“ But as the Cavaliers’ 107-100 win over the Heat showed Monday, no matter how brilliantly he performs, he can’t elevate Miami to the level needed for him to pass Bryant and James in the MVP pecking order.
But where’s the logic? Extending the analogy the fight outside a bar is a measure of the fighter’s toughness and the MVP should be given to the toughest person involved. Miami‘s players around Wade don’t know how to fight he has to fight on his own.
Now, if he just gets his butt whipped that’s a sorry excuse no matter what, but if he manages to take most of the gang down on his own but still loses when someone holds his arms back while Kobe punches him in the gut, does he not get extra consideration? He just took down half the Lakers gang by himself!
Not to mention that the non-tough person, the coward as you will, is the guy who only fights with a gang of tough friends around him. Its just plain old non-thinking. So many base their reasoning for a purely individual award on an blatant team statistic. The two go together and you have to attribute how much that players elevates his team.
Ask yourself: what would Miami‘s record be if Wade was not there? Answer: the basement. Last year with a mostly hobbled Wade they won 15 games. This year: seeded fourth in the playoff race with home court advantage in the first round. Where would Kobe‘s team be if he hurt his own knee instead of Bynum’s? I’d say they lose a few more games but still be right in it for a very high seed and one of the best records.
For LBJ, its a little different. Without him his team would not be in the Clipper zone. Competitive, but with an over-achieving ceiling of probably .500 ball and no where near the laughing stock Miami would be without wade. He makes a 20-30 game difference all on his own and people respond to that by demanding more. The Heat are on pace for 45-50 wins. I’m wondering how 0-5 wins can honestly sway someone when watching a season like Wade is putting up.
An MVP’s presence as one player should make the team overachieve as a whole. Otherwise, you’re just a replaceable piece in a well constructed puzzle. Kobe replaceable? Not so crazy. A number of good 2’s that could fit in with LA’s system/players and achieve team success. If he’s just part of a great team, they have to do something crazy specially dominant as a team (win 70 games maybe) to show that he’s elevating them beyond to another level. I ask myself how people can really root for that guy outside the bar administering the gut punch. Its like rooting for Cobra Kai instead of Daniel San.
As it stands 2 thirds through this NBA season only two players, LBJ and Wade (arguably Duncan, factoring in injuries) have really pushed their teams over the top of what they should have done. That should be the entire MVP race. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are really voting for the MSCH (most sports center highlights) award.
MVP should be based on one thing: how does a player affect his team? Last year’s deserving MVP was Chris Paul and that season, arguably the best PG season in history, will be forgotten with no accolades. Now its Wade’s turn to be forgotten. One of the best individual seasons in recent memory is going to be remembered for a first or second round playoff exit and nothing more. The MVP is turning into the Oscar for best player. The real best players get left behind in the books. Its a NBA shame.