Monday, April 11, 2005


Most VALUABLE Player. That means the player which propels his team to win, and, without that player, they lose. Do pro sports always follow this idea? A-Rod on the Rangers, anyone? With this in mind, the NBA MVP comes down to 6 candidates that are vital to their teams:
6) Allen Iverson- With his Playstation-like scoring (30.5 ppg) and surprising assist average (7.8), he is the only- I repeat, only (C-Webb)- reason the Sixers are 2 games over .500 and 2 games back of a playoff spot.
5) Dirk Nowitzki- I love Dirk and his J, and the numbers jump at you (26.3 & 9.9), but the Mavs would still be close to a playoff spot if he had an off year.
4) Dwyane Wade- In games without Shaq through April 10, Wade's stats were stellar (37 mpg, 50% FG, 7.5 apg, 2.25 spg, 25.6 ppg) and he managed to maintain the Heat's record, going 4-4.
3) LeBron James- This is a case of needing more help around him, pure and simple. Take him off the team and they're cellar-dwellers...but they're recent slide proves they stink with him still playing. Bottom line- if they had stayed at 5th or 6th in the East, I give James the hardware.
2) Shaquille O'Neal- Yes, that's right. He's not my MVP. Why? See #1. Shaq is a dominate force to be sure, and 23.0 pts, 10.6 boards, & 2.4 blocks sparkles...for any other player. This is Shaq's second-lowest scoring year, and he is setting career-lows in rebounding and free-throw percentage (46.4). Still, Shaq is my pick almost any other season.
1) Steve Nash- Those who play basketball know, it's much harder to win with a team full of scorers out to get theirs (see Phoenix Suns) than with a team that has one or 2 defined scorers and several role players who know it (see Miami Heat). Yes, a Mike Bibby, J-Kidd, or Stepho--OK let's go with Andre Miller, could have done spectacular things with the Suns' roster...but the point is, those guys are not on the Suns. Nash is. And he's been brilliant (16.0 ppg, 11.4 apg). This is for the team Sports Illustrated projected somewhere in the 9th-to-11th range in the West, after they went 29-53 last year and finished 6th in their division. Currently, the Suns boast the highest-scoring team in the league, led by their Canadian PG, and are the best team in the NBA. So why not give Nash the award, eh?


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