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vjz
04-14-2006, 04:03 PM
Who's the NBA MVP?

By Bill Simmons
Page 2

Link (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=2408399&type=story)

Say what you want about the NBA, but the league offers seven superior features to every other professional sport: a wildly entertaining draft, a new dress code that caused "Big and Tall Store" stock to jump eight points, the wit and wisdom of Mr. Jalen Rose, cheerleaders who dress like hookers, a ridiculously surreal All-Star Weekend and, of course, the only "Most Valuable Player" award that truly matters.

Can you name the last 10 NFL MVPs? Of course not. Can you remember the last 10 MVPs in each baseball league, and definitively say which guy was better every year? Nope. Do you even know the name of the NHL trophy? Unless you're Canadian, probably not. The MVP concept works best in the NBA: Every player is eligible, everyone plays against one another, it's relatively simple to compare statistics and, if you watch the games, you can always figure out which players stand out over everyone else.

Of course, the experts seem just as confused as they were last season, when Steve Nash stumbled into the award because some people thought it would be fun to vote for a white Canadian dude with bad hair who didn't play defense. As it turned out, Nash raised his game in the playoffs and vindicated everyone who picked him. (Note: I thought Shaq should have won the award and still do.) But that raises a bigger question: What makes for an NBA MVP?

I concentrate on three questions:

1. Ten years from now, who will be the first player from this season that pops into my head?

2. In a giant pickup game with every NBA player waiting to play, and two fans forced to pick sides with their lives depending on the outcome of the game (I think this is how the annual Rucker League tournament works), who would be the first player picked based on the way everyone played that season?

3. If you replaced every MVP candidate with a decent player at their position for the entire season, what would be the effect on their teams' records?

The first two questions are subjective. You might think the 2004-05 season belonged to Nash, whereas I thought it belonged to Shaq. And until this season, I would have picked Shaq first in any pickup game, you may have picked Kobe or LeBron. But the third question isn't nearly as subjective, it's also crucial to this year's dilemma. We're dealing with the deepest pool of potential MVP candidates ever (eight by my count). And I think the choice is pretty clear. But before we get to that, check out some of the names who didn't make the cut:

Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Pau Gasol, Rasheed Wallace: All of them were indispensable to winning teams. Marion was the most explosive, Brand was the most consistent, Gasol carried the biggest burden and Rasheed is the one you would pick for one big game. You can't say one was more valuable than the others. (Although Gasol's straggly, Survivor-like beard had a Plummer-like impact on him and the Grizzlies, insuring its place in the NBA Beard Hall of Fame with Mike Newlin, Mike Gminski, Coby Dietrich, Bill Walton, Phil Jackson and Aaron McKie.) The important thing to remember is that all of them were better than ...

Kevin Garnett: Can you name another alleged "superstar in his prime" who missed the playoffs for two straight seasons? How was his supporting cast worse than Gasol's crew in Memphis, or even Chris Paul's team in New Orleans? Did you know that we haven't had a former MVP miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons in his prime since Bob McAdoo (who never should have won the MVP in the first place because Rick Barry got robbed)? Isn't it his job to carry a crappy team? What do you think Barkley was doing in the late-'80s and early-'90s in Philly? Nobody in the league gets more of a free ride than KG. Nobody.

(Note: There's a difference between being "competitive" and being "no fun whatsover to play with," and KG crossed that line about five years ago. You can't carry yourself that way for eight months each season without eventually committing a homicide. You just can't. He's wound too tight. So if you're reading this 50 years from now and wondering why KG only made it past Round 1 once in his career -- as well as why he murdered everyone in Minnesota's locker room after a 20-point blowout loss during the 2007-08 season -- please consider everything in this parentheses. Thank you.)

Gilbert Arenas, Paul Pierce: Two splendid individual seasons; two guys who were probably worth 12-15 wins for their respective teams. And I could barely make room for them in the top 15.

Jason Kidd: Firmly entrenched in the "Heather Locklear on 'Spin City' " phase of his career -- he doesn't look good as he once did, but he's still Jason Kidd. And he gets credit for two things: First, he's the only player who could have salvaged Vince Carter's career (like Tarantino taking a chance on Travolta in "Pulp Fiction," only if nobody was hiring Travolta because he didn't try in his last five movies. And second, this current Nets team could win 50 games without rebounders, shot-blockers, and any semblance of a low-post game, as well as a rotation that includes Cliff Robinson, Zoran Planicic, Jacques Vaughn, Lamond Murray and Scott Padgett. Only Kidd could have salvaged this mess. And this is why I hate stats sometimes, because someone like KG will always come off better than someone like Kidd. But the overall objective is to win games, and no matter where he is, Kidd's teams always seem to win more than they lose.

Allen Iverson: Mortal lock to be playing somewhere else next season.

Ben Wallace: In theory, he should be a top-10 pick for starting the Artest melee. Just think, if Wallace had calmed down after the initial shove, Artest never would have lounged on the scorer's table, John Green never would have tossed that drink, the ensuing melee never would have happened, and Detroit's most dangerous rival (an excellent Pacers team) wouldn't have completely self-combusted. Instead, Wallace kept carrying on and trying to reach Artest, and eventually, one of his fans turned into the NBA version of Lee Harvey Oswald. Eighteen months later, the Pacers are floundering and Larry Legend is making noises about blowing everything up.

(By the way, this seems like a good time to mention that Wallace was only suspended for six games. Although David Stern admits privately that, had Wallace handed Lee Harvey Green the cup of soda and screamed, "Throw it at him! Throw it!" ... they probably would have raised it to eight.)

Tim Duncan: In many ways, this isn't his greatest season -- thanks to his Phil Plantieritis or whatever it's called, he couldn't move laterally, couldn't get any lift, wasn't getting as many putbacks, had trouble filling the lane on fast breaks, never looked even remotely comfortable -- and yet, his team kept winning and his numbers didn't look much different than normal. You can't judge a great athlete until he's playing hurt, and in Duncan's case, his consistency was almost heroic. But he wasn't nearly as dominant, and I watched too many Spurs games in which he wasn't even the fifth-best player on the court. So I can't call him an MVP candidate. With many regrets.

Shaquille O'Neal: The best center alive by default (although Yao made a nice run in February and March). He still commands a double-team in every fourth quarter. The referees still call the game differently when he's out there. He's developed into an exceptionally smart passer from the low post. And he remains the league's most entertaining personality, maybe its most popular ambassador since Doctor J.

And with all of that said ... old Shaq is starting to look a little long in the tooth. You knew it was coming; all the stats from every great center forecasted it. Now, it's happening. Justin from Pasadena sums everything up: "With $100 million and 5 [years] left on his contract, and knees that bend no more than 5 degrees, how long do you think it will be before the Knicks make a run at getting Shaq? I'm already getting ready to pre-order my soon-to-be classic Knicks/O'Neal jersey."

(Two notes about that e-mail: First, it's funny because it's true. There's no doubt in hell that Isiah is trading Curry, Crawford and 25 future first-rounders for Shaq in the summer of 2007, followed by Knicks fans rejoicing for the first few months, then eventually turning on the trade and claiming they never liked it in the first place. And second, until last month, I had never received a "Shaq is starting to look washed up" e-mail. Not once.)

All right, enough foreplay. My top eight choices for MVP, in reverse order from eighth to first:

8. Chauncey Billups
The best player on the best team this season. But can you really call anyone "the best player" on a team that works solely because they play so well together?

For instance, "24" wouldn't work without Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer; nobody else could play that part. But "Lost" relies on a number of quality actors, all of whom play a role in the show's success to varying degrees: Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Kate and Hurley (that's their starting five). Personally, I think Sawyer is the best character, not just from an acting standpoint, but from an entertaining/interesting/dramatic standpoint). He's the Rasheed Wallace of the group, someone who doesn't need to carry every episode, brings a ton of stuff to the table and takes nothing off (and they're both funny as hell). As for the rest, Locke is probably Ben Wallace (does all the little stuff); Kate is Tayshaun Prince (the token chick/fifth man); Hurley is Rip Hamilton (totally underrated, always rises to the occasion); and Billups is Jack (the leader of the group).

So here's the question: Does the show work because of Jack, or does it work because of the group as a whole? Obviously, it's because of the group. Well, the same goes for the Pistons; calling Billups a bonafide MVP candidate demeans the contributions of everyone else involved. Would they slip that much with Jason Terry in Billups' spot? Probably not.

(Of course, if Jack ends up taking down The Others, and Billups takes down every contender this spring, maybe we have to re-evaluate.)

7. Chris Paul
The great John Hollinger covered Paul's case in his "third greatest season by a rookie guard ever" column yesterday, even if he didn't give Magic's rookie year nearly enough credit. Remember, Magic was playing out of position that season because of Norm Nixon, and he and Bird DID save the league and all, and he DID average nearly a triple-double in the playoffs and play one of the 10 greatest games in the history of the NBA Finals. (Whatever, we'll have to settle this over fisticuffs at the company barbecue in July.) For the purposes of this column, Paul had the lamest supporting cast of any candidate, played his position about as well as it can be played, and his team overachieved mainly because of him.

Let's say the Hornets finish with 40 wins ... how many would they have won with Deron Williams or Raymond Felton instead of Paul? Twenty? Fifteen? What about the baggage the Hornets had coming into the season, what with the hurricane in New Orleans, new digs in Oklahoma City and everything else? What about how much this team depended on Paul from night to night, even though he was a rookie? I just don't see how anyone can list him lower than seventh. And yes, that screaming is the sound of everyone from Atlanta. Just give them a few seconds.

6. Carmelo Anthony
The best clutch scorer alive -- seven game-winners and a game-tying shot just since Jan. 1, as well as the best clutch numbers of anyone in basketball over the past three seasons (according to 82games.com) -- to the point that we should be using his full name like we do with every other famous assassin. If your life depended on somebody making a game-winning shot in the last 10 seconds, would you pick anyone BUT Melo? I sure wouldn't.

So there's that. He also carried a division-winning Nuggets team that dealt with numerous injuries and numbers problems, a significant trade in mid-February, a glaring lack of outside shooters, and Kenyon Martin gimping around like Ken Reeves on the Bulls. And it's not like he's in his prime; actually, he's only seven months older than LeBron. Maybe there have been some minor flaws here and there -- he takes some quarters off, doesn't rebound enough, acts out sometimes -- but nothing that can't be fixed down the road.

Here's the thing: I'm starting to wonder if LeBron-Wade-Carmelo could become the most important sports rivalry of this generation. Each is great in his own way, each brings something different and unique to the table, and each seems to feed off what's happening with the other two guys. For instance, the Wade-LeBron duel two Saturdays ago (LeBron finished with 47-12-10, Wade with a 44-8-9) wasn't just the most thrilling game of the season, it was a significant experience for anyone who truly gives a crap about this league. Here were two fantastic young players absolutely KILLING it, doing everything they could to win the game, bringing out the absolute best of one another, raising everyone to a higher place.

This was like Pacino and De Niro sharing a scene in "Heat," only if they made the movie together in 1974. This was like Pearl Jam and Nirvana saying in 1992, "Screw it, let's go play at the same tiny club in Seattle and see who the crowd enjoys more." This was like nothing that's ever happened before. I haven't stopped thinking about it for three straight weeks. Could this be where we're headed -- magical game after magical game, like those Celtics-Lakers games in the mid-'80s, only for 12-15 years? What's the ceiling here? Do we even have a ceiling? Ali had Frazier, Bird had Magic, Russell had Chamberlain. Is it possible that LeBron, Wade and Carmelo all have each other? And do you realize that these guys are a combined 66 years old?

Maybe I'm biased as an unabashed NBA junkie, but I truly believe that the collective emergence of LeBron, Wade and Melo could eventually become the most significant thing that ever happened to this league -- bigger than MJ, bigger than Bird and Magic, bigger than everything. I guess we'll see.

5. Steve Nash
Kudos to him for increasing his scoring and seamlessly integrating seven new teammates into Phoenix's offense; in many ways, he was better than last season. He's the only current player whose unselfishness seems to transfer (almost by osmosis) to everyone else on his team. On the flip side, he's even worse defensively than last season; just in the past two months, I watched Shaun Livingston, Delonte West and Kidd completely outplay him in separate games, capped off by Billups simply CREMATING him in Detroit two Sundays ago. Would an MVP ever get decimated like that by someone who plays the same position? Please.

Put it this way: Nash was a cute choice last season, mainly because none of the other candidates stood out, and I could see why someone would have been swayed. (It was like ordering one of those fancy foreign beers at a bar, the ones in the heavy green bottles with the 13-letter name that you can't pronounce, only someone else is drinking it, so you say to yourself, "Ah, screw it, I'm tired of the beer I always drink, lemme try one of those.") But this year? I'm not saying he should be ignored, but if you actually end up picking him, either you're not watching enough basketball or you just want to see a white guy win back-to-back MVP's.

4. Dwyane Wade
Even as recently as four weeks ago, he was my MVP pick ... and then he started struggling, and so did Miami, and now he's hurt. The next three guys just passed him. It's that simple.

3. Dirk Nowitzki
Averaging an astonishing 29-and-10 since the All-Star Break (the only two forwards to average 29-and-10 since the ABA/NBA merger were Bird and the Mailman). He's the only All-Star on a 60-win Dallas team. He shows up for every game. He's an underrated rebounder and superior free-throw shooter in crunch time. He solved the whole "Let's stick a smaller, more athletic guy on him!" strategy by punishing defenders with a variety of herky-jerk moves on the high post. He's German, which makes him fun to dislike whenever he starts sneering at his teammates or arrogantly celebrating after a big bucket. Out of any over-25 player, he made the biggest leap this season; it's hard to imagine anyone meaning more to his team.

Quick Nowitzki story: Clips-Mavs, Monday night, tie game, 18 seconds left. Nowitzki is 5-for-18, but we all know he's getting the final shot -- right at the top of the key, where he's been thriving all season. Naturally, we assume that Dunleavy will send a second guy at him, since you never want to get beat by a franchise guy. So Dallas brings the ball up and feeds Nowitzki on the high post, only Chris Kaman (a gawd-awful defender) switches onto him. And we're waiting for the second guy. And we're waiting. Hell, even Dirk is waiting. Never comes. Finally, with the clock winding down, he puts a quick move on Kaman, upfakes him and drains a 16-footer to win the game, followed by a goofy gesture in which he coldly pulled his jersey out with both forefingers, almost like dueling shotguns. And then his teammates practically chest-bumped him to death.

Here's the point: I wasn't even remotely surprised. Not by any of it. (Well, except for Dunleavy being dumb enough to single-team Dirk with Kaman.) There are franchise guys, and then there are FRANCHISE GUYS. This season, Nowitzki added the caps.

2. LeBron James
Twenty-five months. That's how long it took before one of the Cleveland coaches (and there have been three since LeBron joined the team) made the astounding realization, "Hey, instead of sticking LeBron in the corner or the wing and having entire possessions where he never touches the ball, maybe we should run the offense through him!"

In the words of Colonel James, "Oh, you think so, Doctor?" Really? You want to stick him at the top of the key and run the offense through your best playmaker, as well as someone who's completely unstoppable whenever he decides to drive to the basket? You think that might work?

Now he's putting up 33-8-7 every night, which makes me wonder what would have happened had he handled the ball that much from Day 1. And it's not a very good Cavs team -- nobody plays defense, nobody rebounds, Ilguaskas doesn't fit in at all (terrible signing), even the alleged "shooters" (Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall, etc.) rarely make open shots. Replace LeBron with Mike Miller, throw in the Hughes injury and this was probably a 27-win team. Instead, they'll win 50.

The intriguing subplot: LeBron is figuring out how to take over down the stretch, personified by what happened on Saturday in New Jersey (17 in the final quarter). At least once a game, he does something so explosive, so athletic, so incredible, you can't even believe it happened. The last time I remember feeling this way about a professional athlete was Bo Jackson, who wasn't just great ... he stood out. I attended a spring training game once when Bo scored from third base on a 180-foot pop fly -- standing up. It was awesome to watch.

Well, LeBron reminds me of Bo. On those plays when he says, "Screw it, I'm scoring" and heads toward the basket like a runaway freight train. He's like a young Barkley crossed with a young Shawn Kemp crossed with young Magic, but with a little Bo thrown in. Out of anyone in the league, he's the only player who can cripple the other team with one monster play.

There's a perfect example that Hollinger wrote about on Sunday, but screw it, I'm retelling the story. On Saturday afternoon, I TiVo'ed the Nets-Cavs game because the Nets had won 14 straight and officially reached "record all our games" territory. LeBron completely took over the game in the fourth, capped off by one of the most startling plays I have ever seen: Trailing in the final two minutes, LeBron seized some open space in transition and pulled the Runaway Freight Train move, careening toward the basket as one Net reached in and hacked him, followed by another Net on the other side reaching in and fouling him, and then a third guy just to make sure he wouldn't score. LeBron was cradling the ball, taking two giant steps toward the basket and absorbing those karate chops. BOOM-BOOM-BOOM. Any normal human being would have either lost the ball or lost their balance and tumbled to the ground.

Well, LeBron kept going -- almost like a tight end bouncing off three safeties in the open field. As the last guy walloped him, LeBron jumped in the air (where did he get the strength?!?!?), regained control of the ball, hung in the air, hung in the air for another split-second, gathered the ball (at this point, he was drifting under the right side of the rim), and finally unleashed a righty layup that banked in. The shot was so BLEEPING INCREDIBLE, the referee practically jumped in delight as he called the continuation foul. The Nets were done after that. He ripped their hearts out, MJ-style. Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it.

And he's 21. Even more unbelievable.

So why isn't LeBron James the 2006 MVP? Two reasons. First, he hasn't committed himself on the defensive end yet. It's not even an effort thing, I think he's just been poorly coached. Bird and Magic couldn't guard anyone either, but they were always great help defenders, and Bird actually controlled games on that end like a free safety (just watch Game 6 of the 1986 Finals, you'll see what I mean). Defensively, LeBron is a complete non-factor.

More importantly, the next guy has just been a little bit better ...

1. Kobe Bryant
You don't know how much this kills me. Actually, you probably do. But Mamba passes all three MVP questions ...

Question No. 1: When remembering this season 10 years from now, which player will pop into your head first?

Answer: Kobe. The dude scored 62 in three quarters against Dallas, then 81 against Toronto a few weeks later. He's about to become the fifth player in NBA history to average 35 points a game (along with Wilt, MJ, Elgin and Rick Barry). He made up with Shaq. He made up with Phil. He made up with Nike. He appeared on the cover of Slam Magazine with a Mamba snake wrapped around him. He did everything but make the obligatory cameo on "Will and Grace." No player took more abuse from writers, broadcasters and radio hosts this season, but Kobe seemed to feed off that negative energy. It was almost Bondsian. And just when it kept seeming like he might wear down, he'd toss up another 50 just to keep you on your toes. Kobe was relentless. That's the best way to describe him this season.

Question No. 2: In the proverbial giant pickup game with every NBA player waiting to play, who would be the first player picked this season?

Answer: Kobe. He's the best all-around player in the league, the best scorer, the best competitor, and the one guy who terrifies everyone else. Plus, if you DIDN'T pick him, he would make it his mission to haunt you on the other team.

Question No. 3: If you replaced every MVP candidate with a decent player at their position for the entire season, what would be the effect on their teams' records?

Answer: If you replaced Kobe with a decent 2-guard (someone like Jamal Crawford) for the entire 2005-06 Lakers season, they would have won between 15 and 20 games. I can say that in complete confidence. Terrible team. When Smush Parker and Kwame Brown are your third- and fourth-best players, you shouldn't even be allowed to watch the playoffs on TV. Throw Kobe in the mix and they're headed for 45 wins. So he's been worth 25 victories for them. Minimum.

In a weird way, Kobe ended up getting what he always wanted: The Lakers completely revolve around him. He gets to shoot 25-30 times per game. He gets to take every big shot at crunch-time. He gets all the credit. Nobody else on the team dares to challenge him. And even better, because he lucked out with the only possible coach who could make this cockamamie situation work, his supporting cast kills itself to make him look good.

Basically, he's Elvis and everyone else is Joe Esposito. And it's working! That's the crazy thing.

Now they're a sleeper in the West -- seriously, do you think Phoenix wants any part of them in Round 1? -- and have the only player in the league who can win a playoff series by himself. He's the Black Mamba, he's Kobe Bryant, he's the 2006 MVP, and since we finally have that settled, I will now light myself on fire.

Thespiralgoeson
04-14-2006, 04:12 PM
8th seed ain't good enough. It just ain't good enough. This article, like everything else Simmons writes, is trash. Kobe shouldn't even be on the ballot.

nashtymavsfan13
04-14-2006, 04:24 PM
I think Kobe should be on the ballot, but definetly not that high! His argument is horrible though.

Big Boy Laroux
04-14-2006, 08:29 PM
ha ha, let the simmons bashing begin! where's murph?

Jeremiah
04-14-2006, 08:53 PM
...

Thespiralgoeson
04-15-2006, 01:34 AM
What's wrong with his argument? It sounds good to me.

See above. He says Kobe is the MVP. The Lakers are barely in the playoffs. 7th seed just ain't MVP worthy. End of story.

dude1394
04-15-2006, 01:34 AM
What's wrong with his argument? It sounds good to me.

A guy who can barely make the playoffs doesn't get mvp. It's WINS and LOSSES baby..

I just have to say.... SCOREBOARD.

chumdawg
04-15-2006, 02:24 AM
For what it's worth, Nash said tonight that it was Dirk.

Jeremiah
04-15-2006, 02:27 AM
...

chumdawg
04-15-2006, 02:29 AM
I think Kobe should be the MP3.

rabbitproof
04-15-2006, 03:16 AM
I wouldn't give it to Kobe personally but given Simmons' criteria and metrics for measuring MVP-worthiness, I'd have no qualms with his choice and say he did a fair job in his little own way of picking a MVP.

What you must take up against Simmons if you dislike his selection is his system.

Besides, Simmons kind of hands it to Dirk in a under-the-table sort of way with this comment about the DirkMan: "It's hard to imagine anyone meaning more to their team."

Anyways, I wouldn't take a guy whose initials are "BS" too seriously unless....... do ESPN's Page 2 guys get a vote?

I still think Simmons is the shit because he's entertaining to read.

vjz
04-15-2006, 06:40 AM
... do ESPN's Page 2 guys get a vote?


Great question! Anyone knows if Simmons has a vote?
Or list of people who have a vote? And are their votes secret?

Murphy3
04-15-2006, 10:15 AM
ha ha, let the simmons bashing begin! where's murph?
I don't have a huge problem with this article. I don't think the Kobe does much of anything to make his teammates better. I think you could put alot of superstars on that team in place of Kobe and they would.

1. put up slightly inferior numbers
but,
2. would make their teammates better than what Kobe has.

He's definitely a top 5 guy. But, as the 8th seed, I would definitely like to see him dropped about 3-4 spots.

Now, if you put LeBron first and Dirk second..I would have no issue with it at all.

Simmons is a good writer..but, I just don't think he's a good basketball mind.

jthig32
04-15-2006, 11:42 AM
Simmons is a good writer..but, I just don't think he's a good basketball mind.

I think he's about as informed as it gets on the NBA at ESPN.com, outside of Hollinger. He sometimes will throw stuff out to see if it sticks, and he admittedly takes the stance of a basketball fan, not expert, but I think he's pretty spot on a lot of the time.

More so than most ESPN.com columnists anyway, although that may not be saying much.

He and Hollinger and Sheridan were the only guys to have the Mavs as the second best team in the West this year.

That whole article is really good. I like how he included Chris Paul on the ballot. He doesn't deserve to be THE MVP, but he definitely deserves some votes.

Dtownsfinest
04-15-2006, 01:08 PM
The problems I have with this MVP balloting is when its done and the criteria's. Everyone says in order to be MVP you have to make your teammates better. I just don't see anyone fitting that categorie in the NBA period. You can make a argument for Nash but you can also argue that his teammates are better because of the system they play in. Playing alongside a superstar can benefit a player's game but I honestly never felt Jordan made Pippen or Dennis Rodman any better than they were. It helped playing alongside him but as far as what they brought to the court they could've done it with out him.

If you're going to vote for MVP before the post season begins than Kobe is a candidate. I have no problem with what Simmons is saying. I'm sure if Kobe had a better supporting cast his team would be a lot better than the 7th or 8th seed. He's playing alongside a potential all star in Lamar Odom but there games do not compliment each other at all. In order for both of them to play a their highest they both need to have the ball and that's not possible.

I don't get why Simmons thinks Nash was the cute decision last year but doesn't think much of him this year. Last year was debatable. This year he's playing without one of the most dominant big men in the game.

Bron's another guy who deserves props. Played all season without his starting 2 guard and the 2nd best player on the team. Not to mention his stats are unreal.


I pretty much agree with his position on Dirk. I have Nash and 'Bron ahead of Dirk. I just can't sit with Kobe being the MVP. Not being the #1 candidate. He had one of the best seasons i've ever witnessed from a player but factoring in all the criteria's his season hasn't been as good as Dirk, Bron's or Nash's. Or hell even Brand or Billup's.

jthig32
04-15-2006, 01:14 PM
The problems I have with this MVP balloting is when its done and the criteria's. Everyone says in order to be MVP you have to make your teammates better. I just don't see anyone fitting that categorie in the NBA period. You can make a argument for Nash but you can also argue that his teammates are better because of the system they play in. Playing alongside a superstar can benefit a player's game but I honestly never felt Jordan made Pippen or Dennis Rodman any better than they were. It helped playing alongside him but as far as what they brought to the court they could've done it with out him.

That is one of the oddest things I have ever seen on this board. You don't think Michael Jordan made his team mates better? You don't think Scottie Pippen made a career of playing alongside Jordan, which took him from a very nice player to a top 50 of all time?

NBA superstars, that are successful, make other players around them more successful. Josh Howard is better for playing next to Dirk. Freaking Tim Thomas has been playing good basketball since joining the Suns, etc etc.

Sure systems have a part in it, but superstars make every other player's lives easier.

Big Boy Laroux
04-15-2006, 03:05 PM
hell, at least simmons watches games before talking about the NBA. bucher just admitted he hadn't watched any mavs games. unbelievable. isn't that his job? to watch games and write about them? Simmons is not an NBA Analyst. He's a sports/culture writer who often writes about the NBA. And his comments about every player are better than anything else i've seen written.

The criteria for MVP is left up to interpretation, and according to his, kobe takes it. and he even openly dislikes kobe.

Thespiralgoeson
04-15-2006, 03:29 PM
That is one of the oddest things I have ever seen on this board. You don't think Michael Jordan made his team mates better? You don't think Scottie Pippen made a career of playing alongside Jordan, which took him from a very nice player to a top 50 of all time?

Kind of off subject but I certainly don't think Michael Jordan "made him better." Pippen was simply the greatest defensive wingman in the history of the NBA. Not to mention a phenominal passer, shooter, and slasher. He was truly a complete player. I think Scottie Pippen was one of the top 50 greatest players because of Scottie Pippen, not because of Michael Jordan.

Dtownsfinest
04-15-2006, 03:49 PM
That is one of the oddest things I have ever seen on this board. You don't think Michael Jordan made his team mates better? You don't think Scottie Pippen made a career of playing alongside Jordan, which took him from a very nice player to a top 50 of all time?

NBA superstars, that are successful, make other players around them more successful. Josh Howard is better for playing next to Dirk. Freaking Tim Thomas has been playing good basketball since joining the Suns, etc etc.

Not sure if you understand what i'm saying. I stated that yes playing alongside Jordan made life for Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman easy but like spiral went into, these players were great players because of themselves. Not because of MJ. Is Bruce Bowen one of the greatest defenders in the game because of Tim Duncan or is it because of Bruce Bowen? Yes, Bowen gets that open corner 3 point shot from time to time due to playing alongside Duncan but its not what makes Bowen a great player. That whole "makes his teammates batter" argument for MVP is bogus. It shouldn't even be brought up IMO because no one really makes a player better. It takes talent and hard work. Dirk can't make a bum off the street look any better than Steve Nash could.

Its frustrating because this is the argument I hear people bring up when it comes to Dirk beign a valid MVP candidate. Because he doesn't make his teammates look better than they really are he's not really a candidate. I think its bs. There's not really a MVP out there who makes his teammate any better than they currently are. I don't think finding your teammate for a open 3 fits the description of making your teammate better.

jthig32
04-15-2006, 04:12 PM
Kind of off subject but I certainly don't think Michael Jordan "made him better." Pippen was simply the greatest defensive wingman in the history of the NBA. Not to mention a phenominal passer, shooter, and slasher. He was truly a complete player. I think Scottie Pippen was one of the top 50 greatest players because of Scottie Pippen, not because of Michael Jordan.

I completely disagree. Take a look at what he did when Jordan wasn't around. He was an all-star caliber player, but without Jordan he's no where close to the top 50 of all time.

jthig32
04-15-2006, 04:15 PM
Not sure if you understand what i'm saying. I stated that yes playing alongside Jordan made life for Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman easy but like spiral went into, these players were great players because of themselves. Not because of MJ. Is Bruce Bowen one of the greatest defenders in the game because of Tim Duncan or is it because of Bruce Bowen? Yes, Bowen gets that open corner 3 point shot from time to time due to playing alongside Duncan but its not what makes Bowen a great player. That whole "makes his teammates batter" argument for MVP is bogus. It shouldn't even be brought up IMO because no one really makes a player better. It takes talent and hard work. Dirk can't make a bum off the street look any better than Steve Nash could.

Its frustrating because this is the argument I hear people bring up when it comes to Dirk beign a valid MVP candidate. Because he doesn't make his teammates look better than they really are he's not really a candidate. I think its bs. There's not really a MVP out there who makes his teammate any better than they currently are. I don't think finding your teammate for a open 3 fits the description of making your teammate better.

Well, I disagree and I agree. I agree that the argument that Dirk doesn't make his teammates better is ridiculous. I disagree though, that there is no distinction between great players and great players that make their team mates better. For example, I think Allen Iverson and Gilbert Arenas are great scorers, but because of what they have to do, and the offense that has to be run in order for them to be successful, I think they are at times close to a detriment to their team, and certainly do not bring the play of their teammates up.

orangedays
04-15-2006, 04:17 PM
Is Bruce Bowen one of the greatest defenders in the game because of Tim Duncan or is it because of Bruce Bowen? Yes, Bowen gets that open corner 3 point shot from time to time due to playing alongside Duncan but its not what makes Bowen a great player. That whole "makes his teammates batter" argument for MVP is bogus. It shouldn't even be brought up IMO because no one really makes a player better. It takes talent and hard work. Dirk can't make a bum off the street look any better than Steve Nash could.

Granted, Bruce Bowen is one of the best defenders in the league because of Bruce Bowen (or maybe George Gervin). But, his effectiveness is inextricably tied to the fact that he has a player like Tim Duncan in the post to contain any player who may get by him on the perimeter. Duncan makes Bowen better by taking pressure off of him when both players are on the floor - here is a golf-equivalent: Tiger Woods is a great putter (putting = Bruce). But if Tiger's iron game (Duncan) isn't doing its job, then it doesn't matter how good of a putter he has, he will not be able to play well because a putter can only do so much. (This is what happened in the Master's - Tiger put too much pressure on his putter by not sticking his iron shots and he wasn't able to make a run on the final day). Replace TD with Jermaine O'Neal - Bowen's life is made that much harder. I'm not saying that Bowen would be a poor defensive player if you took him off the Spurs and put him with, say, the Knicks - but TD's presence on the floor makes playing defense much much easier.

Its frustrating because this is the argument I hear people bring up when it comes to Dirk beign a valid MVP candidate. Because he doesn't make his teammates look better than they really are he's not really a candidate. I think its bs. There's not really a MVP out there who makes his teammate any better than they currently are. I don't think finding your teammate for a open 3 fits the description of making your teammate better.

I wouldn't be too frustrated with those people, because they do not know what they are talking about. I'm not being a homer, I'm just stating a fact. To not recognize that Dirk makes his teammates better is what we would refer to as a 'blatant disregard for reality'. But I think you are seeking a far too narrow definition of what it means to, 'make your teammates better'. I don't think that anyone means that these MVP-candidates are literally taking a 'bum off the street' and transforming them into a top-50 candidate. It's all about the impact that said MVP-candidates have on the game that makes the game easier for their teammates to play. Here's just one example: Dirk makes his teammates better by drawing double-teams, thereby creating space on the floor for shooters or opening up lanes to the paint for slashers. Playing on Dirk's team is the reason why Jason Terry has averaged 50.1% and 47% while in Dallas despite shooting 43.6% in his previous-best season. A more obvious example of this is the relationship between Shaq and a player such as Damon Jones. Jones is the definition of a 'one-dimensional player' - he shoots. Nothing else. If you look at his career stats, he doesn't even do that very well (.409 FG%, .385 3P%). But last year in Miami, he was able to up that to .456 and .432, respectively, because he had a billion open looks a game...because of Shaq. It's not about finding your teammate for the open 3, it's about taking sufficient attention from the defense to give your teammate the opportunity to shoot the open 3. It's about forcing the defense to collapse and then having the court-vision to kick it out to your open teammate on the perimeter. It's about forcing opposing players to shoot a low-percentage jump shot against a strong perimeter player instead of driving to the hoop because they know that if they try for the lay-up, their shot will be blocked. That's how a player makes his teammates better.

orangedays
04-15-2006, 04:25 PM
Just as a follow-up, here are some of Damon Jones' numbers for the past three seasons:

Year | FG% | eFG%

03-04 | .401 | .494
04-05 | .457 | .622
05-06 | .383 | .524

FGA fluctuated from 6.4, 8.9, 6.0 over those three years - it is a bit surprising (well, not really) that Jones' best year was also the year he shot the most.

Players like Damon Jones owe their livelihoods (or, more accurately, their 4-year, $16.1 million contracts) to players like Shaq.

Thespiralgoeson
04-15-2006, 04:52 PM
I completely disagree. Take a look at what he did when Jordan wasn't around. He was an all-star caliber player, but without Jordan he's no where close to the top 50 of all time.

Pippen single-handedly led them to 55-wins in 93-94 when Jordan retired and was still one of the top 1 or 2 defensive players in the NBA. He was much more than just an "all-star calibur" player. He was no Michael Jordan, of course, but he was capable of carrying a team by himself. Top 50 without question.

And frankly, I believe the concept of one guy "making his teammates better" is bullshit to begin with. Players make their team better, not their teammates. Nothing Michael Jordan ever did made Scottie Pippen better. Was Pippen a lockdown defender because Jordan made him so? No. Was he a great passer, shooter, slasher, or athlete because of Jordan? No. The only thing a player can do to "make his teammates better" is draw the defense, or dish out assists. Scottie Pippen was a great player, and that had very or nothing at all to do with Michael Jordan.

Dtownsfinest
04-15-2006, 05:14 PM
Well, I disagree and I agree. I agree that the argument that Dirk doesn't make his teammates better is ridiculous. I disagree though, that there is no distinction between great players and great players that make their team mates better. For example, I think Allen Iverson and Gilbert Arenas are great scorers, but because of what they have to do, and the offense that has to be run in order for them to be successful, I think they are at times close to a detriment to their team, and certainly do not bring the play of their teammates up.


Just curious but who do you believe in the NBA right now makes their teammates better than they currently are?

but TD's presence on the floor makes playing defense much much easier.

I'm not disagreeing with this statement. I do agree that the presence of a superstar makes life easier but I don't think its what makes Bruce Bowen the defender he is. I don't think Doug Christie was a 1st team defender because of Chris Webber and Vlade Divac's.


Playing on Dirk's team is the reason why Jason Terry has averaged 50.1% and 47% while in Dallas despite shooting 43.6% in his previous-best season.

I honestly feel if ATL had Joe Johnson at the time JET's field goal shooting would be a lot higher. The fact that he played with no outside threats in ATL is what lead to his shooting percentage. I just think the argument of making teammates better is overrated. Yes, there are players who make teammates life in the NBA easier but I don't think there's a guy out there that makes a average 20 minute per game player into a all star. I just don't see it. I think Nash deserves credit for setting his teammates up in Phoenix and making the life of Boris Diaw easier but I think i'll give Eddie House, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell more credit than Nash.


But last year in Miami, he was able to up that to .456 and .432, respectively, because he had a billion open looks a game...because of Shaq.

See I just don't see that as making a player better. I see that as giving Damon Jones more opportunity's to get open looks and to make more shots but it doesn't make him a better player.

jthig32
04-15-2006, 05:27 PM
Pippen single-handedly led them to 55-wins in 93-94 when Jordan retired and was still one of the top 1 or 2 defensive players in the NBA. He was much more than just an "all-star calibur" player. He was no Michael Jordan, of course, but he was capable of carrying a team by himself. Top 50 without question.

And frankly, I believe the concept of one guy "making his teammates better" is bullshit to begin with. Players make their team better, not their teammates. Nothing Michael Jordan ever did made Scottie Pippen better. Was Pippen a lockdown defender because Jordan made him so? No. Was he a great passer, shooter, slasher, or athlete because of Jordan? No. The only thing a player can do to "make his teammates better" is draw the defense, or dish out assists. Scottie Pippen was a great player, and that had very or nothing at all to do with Michael Jordan..

Well, I mean this in the nicest way possible...but you're crazy. :D

I'm not saying saying playing with Jordan made you a better defender, made you jump higher or run faster. But playing with Jordan took attention off of other players, and allowed you the ability to do things that would you would not be able to do without him on the floor.

And there are PLENTY of players in the NBA right now that could have led that team to 55 wins. Scottie Pippen was a very nice player. A perrennial all star even. But top 50 of all time if he never plays with Jordan? Not a chance in hell.

dude1394
04-15-2006, 05:43 PM
.

Well, I mean this in the nicest way possible...but you're crazy. :D

I'm not saying saying playing with Jordan made you a better defender, made you jump higher or run faster. But playing with Jordan took attention off of other players, and allowed you the ability to do things that would you would not be able to do without him on the floor.

And there are PLENTY of players in the NBA right now that could have led that team to 55 wins. Scottie Pippen was a very nice player. A perrennial all star even. But top 50 of all time if he never plays with Jordan? Not a chance in hell.

Bowen and now Finley are great examples. We've seen mike try to take someone off the dribble...can't do it. Bowen shoots a really high percentage of 3pts because he takes 'em wide open. There is no doubt in my mind that playing with duncan/parker make them better offensive at lease players. Put them on a team where they had to make their own shots and it wouldn't be nearly the same.

dirno2000
04-15-2006, 07:17 PM
J-thing the year Jordan retired, Pippen averaged 22/9/6, shot 49% from the field, finished first team all defense and was 3rd in MVP voting.

It always amazes me that people overlook the fact that we actually got to see what Pippen could do without Jordan for a full year. If you want to go by the numbers he was actually better without Jordan then with him.

As far as making your teammates better, I hate that arguement because it's so subjective and people use it against players that they don't like. People claim that Kobe doesn't make his teammates better yet 82games did some analysis to show that almost to a man, the other Lakers are better when in the game with Kobe. Same thing applies to Dirk. GMC did an similair analysis to show that almost every Maverick is more efficient when playing with Dirk.

Why is making your teammates better such a big deal anyway? Like Spiral and Dtown said, great players make the team better. That's what's important.

As for the article, this is the one measure that I don't agree with:
3. If you replaced every MVP candidate with a decent player at their position for the entire season, what would be the effect on their teams' records?

I don't like this line of thinking because it gives an advantage to great players on bad teams. Of course Kobe's team is going to miss him the most, they have Smush Parker starting at PG...don't penalize Dirk for that.

orangedays
04-15-2006, 07:29 PM
Just curious but who do you believe in the NBA right now makes their teammates better than they currently are?

I know this was directed at jthig but I'll field it. Right off the top of my head, I'd say the two easiest calls are Steve Nash and Jason Kidd (and Shaq but I mentioned him earlier). Think about the rosters that these players have been successful with - now replace either player with say...Stephon Marbury. Are those teams as successful? Marbury's offensive numbers compare quite favorably with both players but he falls far short in his ability to 'make his teammates' better (the results are pretty clear when you compare...well, every team Marbury has ever been on with the recent Nets or Suns teams in terms of wins).

I'm not disagreeing with this statement. I do agree that the presence of a superstar makes life easier but I don't think its what makes Bruce Bowen the defender he is. I don't think Doug Christie was a 1st team defender because of Chris Webber and Vlade Divac's.

That's true. His absolute abilities as a defender are the direct result of two things: his talent and his hard work. I think you're taking too literally what it means to 'make teammates better'. It doesn't mean taking a Brian Scalabrine and turning him into an All-Star - what it means is taking an average player (say, Raja Bell) and turning him into an effective and consistent contributor - more so than he ever would be away from the 'player who makes others better'. Or, in Kidd's case - taking two above average players (Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin) and turning them into top-20 (or maybe even top-15) in the league at their respective positions (and we've seen the drop-off with Martin once he left that system). More importantly - it's the wins that these players are able to generate with the teams they spearhead. How else are we to account for teams with less talent winning more games than teams with comparable or superior talent? Yes, we can attribute this sort of success, in part, to coaching. But it is also because of players like Nash and Kidd (and Shaq and Dirk, etc.) that lesser-talented players are able to 'execute' and perform more effectively than more-talented players.

I honestly feel if ATL had Joe Johnson at the time JET's field goal shooting would be a lot higher. The fact that he played with no outside threats in ATL is what lead to his shooting percentage. I just think the argument of making teammates better is overrated. Yes, there are players who make teammates life in the NBA easier but I don't think there's a guy out there that makes a average 20 minute per game player into a all star. I just don't see it. I think Nash deserves credit for setting his teammates up in Phoenix and making the life of Boris Diaw easier but I think i'll give Eddie House, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell more credit than Nash.

Let's not forget that in 02-03 the Hawks had Glenn Robinson and Shareef Abdur-Rahim, with both averaging around 20 ppg on relatively efficient shooting (Robinson's numbers aren't that much worse than what JJ is putting up this season). But the Hawks were still a bad team and Terry shot 42.8% from the field and 34.7% from three. The reason why people glorify the act of 'making teammates better' is because it is something that occurs regardless of the talent you are given to work with.

See I just don't see that as making a player better. I see that as giving Damon Jones more opportunity's to get open looks and to make more shots but it doesn't make him a better player.

Again, I think you're taking the phrase too literally. I think your frustration stems from other people mis-using the phrase. What you stated here is exactly what it means to 'make a teammate' better. It doesn't mean that Shaq worked with Damon Jones to improve his jump shot - it means that being on a team with Shaq makes the game easier to play and thusly, makes Jones a more effective (and better) player.

jthig32
04-15-2006, 07:38 PM
J-thing the year Jordan retired, Pippen averaged 22/9/6, shot 49% from the field, finished first team all defense and was 3rd in MVP voting.

It always amazes me that people overlook the fact that we actually got to see what Pippen could do without Jordan for a full year. If you want to go by the numbers he was actually better without Jordan then with him.

Ok, first of all, there's no "n". ;)

Second, I'm not one of these people that claim Jordan gave him his entire career. He wasn't a spare. I sad he still would have been a perennial all star, some years even a great player.

But, there is a huge difference between that, and one of the 50 greatest players of all time. That's all I'm saying.

dirno2000
04-15-2006, 08:54 PM
Ok, first of all, there's no "n". Just a mistype...or was it :)

Pippen was a first team All NBA player and first team All Defense without Jordan. You put a few of those years together and you're one of the greatest SF's to play the game.

chumdawg
04-15-2006, 09:14 PM
Or, in Kidd's case - taking two above average players (Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin) and turning them into top-20 (or maybe even top-15) in the league at their respective positions (and we've seen the drop-off with Martin once he left that system).

If you're "above average," aren't you by definition already top-15 at your position?

chumdawg
04-15-2006, 09:23 PM
As for the article, this is the one measure that I don't agree with:
3. If you replaced every MVP candidate with a decent player at their position for the entire season, what would be the effect on their teams' records?

I don't like this line of thinking because it gives an advantage to great players on bad teams. Of course Kobe's team is going to miss him the most, they have Smush Parker starting at PG...don't penalize Dirk for that.Just so I'm clear, is the basis of your contention that you believe any of the MP3 candidates would improve a helpless, Smush Parker-point-guard-ed team every bit as much as Kobe Bryant would/has? Or is the basis of your contention that improving an otherwise helpless team is in and of itself not so important a deal?

I can see either argument as valid, and before I comment further I would like to figure out which angle you are taking.

twelli
04-15-2006, 09:33 PM
I am kind of tired of this whole MVP talk.

Why not just find an easy formula to find THE guy.

I could be either one of the following two criteria:

1. Best player on the team with the best record.
2. Player with the best overall stats.

Because it is about one player, it should be the player with the best overall stats, regardless whether his team is successful or not. The whole MVP thing is stupid anyway, because basketball is not an individual sport. It's a team sport. So why do we need to find out who's the most valuable player, when a team could be most successful without him?

Thespiralgoeson
04-15-2006, 10:02 PM
Pippen was a first team All NBA player and first team All Defense without Jordan. You put a few of those years together and you're one of the greatest SF's to play the game.

Agreed. How many SF's in the history of the NBA were better than Pippen? There's Larry Bird... I suppose Elgin Baylor could be considered a 3... It's a pretty damn short list.

orangedays
04-15-2006, 10:43 PM
If you're "above average," aren't you by definition already top-15 at your position?

Good point, I'll be a little more specific and change my earlier statement to read:

"Or, in Kidd's case - taking two above average players (Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin) and turning them into elite players (top-8) at their respective positions (and we've seen the drop-off with Martin once he left that system)."

With Kidd, RJ is the 7th or 8th best small forward in the league; and Kenyon was a top-8 PF during his last few years with the Nets (probably top-20 today).

dude1394
04-15-2006, 10:51 PM
Just a mistype...or was it :)

Pippen was a first team All NBA player and first team All Defense without Jordan. You put a few of those years together and you're one of the greatest SF's to play the game.

so when dirk get's his second First Team vote will he be getting close to the greatest PF's to play the game? Just curious.

dirno2000
04-15-2006, 11:02 PM
so when dirk get's his second First Team vote will he be getting close to the greatest PF's to play the game? Just curious.

If Dirk can play at this level for three or four more years he'll definitly be one of the greats to play the position...especially if we win a title.

dirno2000
04-15-2006, 11:10 PM
Just so I'm clear, is the basis of your contention that you believe any of the MP3 candidates would improve a helpless, Smush Parker-point-guard-ed team every bit as much as Kobe Bryant would/has? Or is the basis of your contention that improving an otherwise helpless team is in and of itself not so important a deal?

I can see either argument as valid, and before I comment further I would like to figure out which angle you are taking.

Neither. I'm saying if the question is "which team will struggle the most without it's MP3 candidate" the answer will always be the one who is surrounded by the least talent and experience. Using that criteria the other 11 players become more important than the one you're evaluating.

chumdawg
04-15-2006, 11:38 PM
Neither. I'm saying if the question is "which team will struggle the most without it's MP3 candidate" the answer will always be the one who is surrounded by the least talent and experience. Using that criteria the other 11 players become more important than the one you're evaluating.No, that's not fair at all. We are talking about decisions on the margin here. What you are suggeesting is almost akin to saying "It doesn't matter who we get to play starting center, because the other eleven players are what they are."

You are focusing too much on the other eleven and not enough on the player in question. I think it's pretty self-evident that one player--any player--can help or hurt a team. Yes, worse teams will improve more than better teams will, when a great player is introduced. But all teams will improve nonetheless, if the added player is that good.

The challenge is to calibrate the scale based on the other eleven players, not to ignore the other eleven players altogether.

grndmstr_c
04-15-2006, 11:42 PM
Would they slip that much with Jason Terry in Billups' spot? Probably not.
Just curious. How much do y'all think the Mavs would slip if you replaced Dirk with Rasheed? It strikes me as an interesting question because I don't think it's very hard to make the argument that Sheed is at least as good as Terry, all things considered, yet my strong intuition is that the Mavs would slip more following that swap than the Pistons would following a hypothetical JT/Billups swap.

chumdawg
04-15-2006, 11:50 PM
Yes, quite intriguing question. My guess is that it's very, very close. AJ's preferred style seems to be one that slows the game down, that in effect takes away the advantage otherwise gained from a terrific offensive player. My guess is that if you swap Dirk and Rasheed--and bear in mind that I think a whole hell of a lot of Rasheed--the Mavs win maybe six or seven fewer games. Sims would be interesting to see.

But the Pistons, on the other hand, seem to rely so heavily on playing as a cohesive unit--at least on the defensive end. Terry is about the last guy I would imagine them having success with.

Yeah, I think I can see it. I think I can see the Pistons dropping to the Heat's level quicker than I could see the Mavs dropping to the Suns' level, if that particular trade was made.

dirno2000
04-16-2006, 12:52 AM
No, that's not fair at all. We are talking about decisions on the margin here. What you are suggeesting is almost akin to saying "It doesn't matter who we get to play starting center, because the other eleven players are what they are."

You are focusing too much on the other eleven and not enough on the player in question. I think it's pretty self-evident that one player--any player--can help or hurt a team. Yes, worse teams will improve more than better teams will, when a great player is introduced. But all teams will improve nonetheless, if the added player is that good.

The challenge is to calibrate the scale based on the other eleven players, not to ignore the other eleven players altogether.

I may be misinterpreting what you're saying but if you adjust for the other 11 players aren't you essentially making a judgement on which MP3 candidate is the most talented?

chumdawg
04-16-2006, 01:27 AM
No, I don't think so. Not necessarily, anyway. Let's say we have Michael Jordan in his prime. Let's magically add him to the Blazers this year. The Blazers get better. A whole hell of a lot better. Maybe they even make the playoffs.

Now let's go back in time and add him to the Pistons. The Pistons get better, too. They win 70 instead of 65, or whatever it is.

Jordan was still the same Jordan, on both teams. But he helped the lesser team a lot more, in terms of absolute games won.

I'm just saying that there is some way, even if it's not precise, to take this sort of thing into account. In other words, in a perfect system Jordan may not be penalized for playing on the Pistons rather than the Blazers, if voters understand that five additional games to the Pistons means more than all those additional games to the Blazers.

But to your question of whether our MP3 judgment is or is not still based on who is most talented, I'm afraid I don't have a good response. So many interlocking criteria, so much subjective judgment, it's hard to tell. I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of a lesser talented guy being more valuable, in general, than a more talented guy. On a case-by-case and team-by-team basis, sure. Are the Mavs going to benefit more by adding Steve Nash or by adding Shaquille O'Neal? Well, to answer that question you have to consider who is already there. It's just a quirky award, sometimes.

dirno2000
04-16-2006, 01:45 AM
No, I don't think so. Not necessarily, anyway. Let's say we have Michael Jordan in his prime. Let's magically add him to the Blazers this year. The Blazers get better. A whole hell of a lot better. Maybe they even make the playoffs.

Now let's go back in time and add him to the Pistons. The Pistons get better, too. They win 70 instead of 65, or whatever it is.

Jordan was still the same Jordan, on both teams. But he helped the lesser team a lot more, in terms of absolute games won.

I'm just saying that there is some way, even if it's not precise, to take this sort of thing into account. In other words, in a perfect system Jordan may not be penalized for playing on the Pistons rather than the Blazers, if voters understand that five additional games to the Pistons means more than all those additional games to the Blazers.

ok, I see what your saying. That's actually a pretty rigorous exercise. First you have to quantify how many wins the player is worth to his team. Then, and this is the hard part, you have to develop a scale where 25 Laker additional losses=15 additional Mavs losses= 22 additional Cav losses etc. If a voter is willing to put that much thought into it I'm all for it. Usually, when I hear writers talk about a players value to his team they don't adjust for the fact that marginal wins are harder to come by for good teams.

Thespiralgoeson
04-16-2006, 02:45 AM
If Dirk can play at this level for three or four more years he'll definitly be one of the greats to play the position...especially if we win a title.

Without question.

Personally, I think Dirk is already there as far as the power forward position is concerned. I think most of us here feel that he probably should be MVP this year, but even if he doesn't win the award, he's definitely a lock for first team All-NBA again. This will give him two selections. Kevin McHale, for example, only had one.

If he ends his career with an MVP award and a championship, that easily puts him in the same class as Malone, Pettit, Duncan, Hayes, and McAdoo.

rabbitproof
04-16-2006, 04:44 AM
The knife cuts both ways.

If focusing on "biggest impact if missing/replaced" is a reflection of how weak a team is and not how valuable a particular player is... then is not focusing on a team's overall record a reflection on strong a team is and not how valuable a particular player is?

Both measures are influenced by the strength of the supporting cast.

chumdawg
04-16-2006, 01:31 PM
You know, it's kinda funny. Back in '03 or '04, neither Dirk nor Nash were given serious MVP consideration, where they? (Bear in mind their team won 60 games in '03!) Then you split them up, and Nash immediately wins the MVP the next season, and now it looks like either he wins it again or his old running mate Dirk does.

Maybe we should careful about dismissing Billups out of hand...

dude1394
04-16-2006, 01:34 PM
You know, it's kinda funny. Back in '03 or '04, neither Dirk nor Nash were given serious MVP consideration, where they? (Bear in mind their team won 60 games in '03!) Then you split them up, and Nash immediately wins the MVP the next season, and now it looks like either he wins it again or his old running mate Dirk does.

Maybe we should careful about dismissing Billups out of hand...

Part of it imo was a backlash against nelson. He had the reputation of a tricked up system. It is funny that they got no mention at all however, kind of sad, but those were the heady shaq/duncan/kg days. Those days seem over..