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Friday, April 17, 2009

How Amazing Will Happen This Year, Pt. 4

I know what you're thinking. I don't want to read another NBA postseason award blog. You know what you are? Selfish. That's right. Your life ain't so bad, or not when you look at it compared the Celtics' at least.


Yeah. You feel pretty guilty for complaining now don't you?

I'll forgive you, but you have to read on.

You know the drill. This is the final post of Korked Bats' Official NBA Postseason Awards postings.

Here's some links to posts 1, 2, and 3. If you want the Reader's Digest version, read them faster than usual.

Let's do some MVP.

Most Valuable Player

We all know who number 1 is. 2 weeks ago, I said that my MVP would be whoever's team (obviously between LeBron and Kobe) finished with the league's best record. But for posterity's sake, here's my top 5:

5. Brandon Roy- Almost every publication has a top 5 that goes (in no particular order) Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. Which one of those names don't belong?

Dwight Howard.

I can't, in good conscience, place someone in the top 5 on my (incredibly valid, important and qualitative) ballot if they aren't A) their team's crunch time guy and B) capable of getting a good shot or creating a good shot for a teammate at any given time. Howard does neither.

I touted Brandon Roy in my coach of the year pick, so I'm not going to write a ton. He's the best player and leader of the second best team in the West (I know they're tied in the standings with the Nuggets and Spurs, but I don't trust Denver in any playoff scenario as long as Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Chris Anderson are on the same team; and San Antonio is cooked. I'm so bummed to see it, but no Manu and Timmy being on a severe downward arc are too devastating.). He's money in the clutch. He sticks up for his guys (remember when he got all sorts of heated and got in the face of some Lakers players when Trevor Ariza took down Rudy Fernandez last month?) and puts up the numbers (22.6 points., 5.1 assists, 4.7 rebounds; 48/38/82 shooting percentages) to warrant some nice consideration (here's another sentence in parenthesis to give us an even number for this paragraph).

4. Chris Paul- I've always naturally gravitated toward Chris Paul because I totally have the whole "I've followed this guy since he was in high school" thing going on. But I don't have to use that bias for anything this year.

What he was able to do in carrying an oft-injured team to 49 wins in the Western conference was impressive enough without factoring in the idea that the Hornets' future in New Orleans was uncertain (for reasons dealing with city finances and the Hornets wanting to avoid the luxury tax).

Statistically he helped the Tiajuana Horse Show (my fantasy hoops team) to a league championship by leading the NBA in assists and steals, finishing 7th in scoring, and shooting a sublime (for a guard, at least) 50% from the floor. Big ups CP3!

Non-statistically, he carried a team and city on the ropes to a playoff berth- despite the fact that Tyson Chandler and Peja Stoy (backspace backspace backspace backspace) Stojock (backspace backspace backspace backspace backspace backspace backspace) That Serbian Guy That Used To Play For The Kings combined to miss 58 games and James Posey spent a chunk of the season nursing an elbow injury.

He would be higher on this ballot, but David West (also on my fantasy team) was marvelous in support and gave Paul a lot of freedom because of his pick-and-pop ability.

3. Dwyane Wade- at season's end, I had Kobe Bryant balloted third and Wade second. But as I was going through the criteria for measuring an MVP, I realized that Wade was a clear-cut three all season, and only moved ahead of Kobe when the Lakers began playing lighter in the last few weeks (a lot of people- myself included- subscribe to the idea that the Lakers only cared about having home court advantage over the Celtics and weren't overly concerned with having it over the Cavs. It makes sense.).

During his ungodly stretch in late February and early March*, I had Wade slated ahead of Kobe and LeBron. See, I'm so sick of the idea that the MVP needs to be the best player on the best team in the NBA. It's that ridiculous groupthink that gave Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki MVP trophies in 05-06 and 06-07 that should've gone to Kobe Bryant.
*During an 11-game span, he averaged 38 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 1.3 blocks. Unreal.

But as great as Wade was for the entire season, 43 wins in the Eastern conference isn't great. I could make an argument that Wade belongs anywhere from 1-5 on my ballot and make each position convincing, so I decided that smack dab (yikes, did I really just use that expression?) in the middle was the best ground.

He had an incredible season- don't get me wrong- and he would've won this trophy if it was almost any other year. He just had the misfortune of having his career year the same year Kobe took his team atop the West and LeBron went all enjoy-facing-this-the-next-10-years on us.

2. Kobe Bryant- See! I'm not a blatant homer!

You know I have a semi-unhealthy obsession with this fella (I'm kidding. You can laugh. Just laugh OK! The doctor said it would make it better if I could joke about it!), so I'm not going to use 4,000 words trying to explain him to you. I only have two points of order:
  1. Don't be fooled by the numbers. He won the MVP last year with 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists. This year he's down to 26.8/5.2/4.9. While those numbers might look fairly unimpressive to Wade's 30/5/7.5 and LeBron's 28.4/7.6/7.2, take a look at criteria three and four from my first post. Kobe plays in a way tougher conference and his offensive system is vastly different from the give-me-the-ball-and-get-open systems that each LeBron and Wade run. Plus, his numbers per 48 minutes (35.6/6.9/6.5 this year versus 34.9/7.7/6.6 last year) are right on track with where they've always been. He's just been able to sit out a lot of fourth quarters this year.
  2. Sometimes it feels so great to be right, and sometimes you just would rather just be wrong. Remember in my stupidly long Kobe piece when I talked about how the media has come to truly despise him and are no longer able to cover him objectively? Check this out. Note the fact that 4 ESPN WRITERS BALLOTED HIM FIFTH. FIFTH! Look, I'm obviously not saying that he is the MVP this year, but anyone that honestly thinks they can convince me that he belongs out of the top 3, feel free to email me at jlaunius@gotofreakinghell.net. It's a joke.
1. Narrowly edging out Eddy Curry, LeBron James- I made most of this argument in my 'Most Improved' post, but allow me to summarize:
  • He now controls games defensively as unbelievably as he does offensively.
  • He became a much better jump shooter.
  • His team has the best record in the NBA and went a surreal 39-2 at home.
  • He is either a Monstar, Teen Wolf, or a clone using the DNA of Magic, Jordan, Oscar Robertson and Pippen.
  • He is freaking scary.
  • He is the MVP.
Korked Bats' 2009 MVP Picks

My pick: LeBron
Davis' pick: LeBron
Kyle's pick: Kobe
Austin's pick: LeBron
Zach's pick: LeBron

2 comments:

Adam said...

"See, I'm so sick of the idea that the MVP needs to be the best player on the best team in the NBA."

"We all know who number 1 is. 2 weeks ago, I said that my MVP would be whoever's team (obviously between LeBron and Kobe) finished with the league's best record."


?

So you don't think the MVP needs to be the best player on the best team? Isn't it kind of a weird coincidence that your MVP choice came down to the two best players from the two best teams and the sole determining factor in your decision was which team had a better record? I mean, if you really believe that the Lakers didn't care about home court advantage over the Cavs, then why would you let a few meaningless games at the end of the season decide your ballot?

Jared Launius said...

that's a fair point. up until that point in the season, they were neck and neck in my opinion. so, to me, the determining factor as to who would win from there on out was who's team were to finish with the best record because it appeared to be something they both had their eyes on. i figured that whoever could get their team there would've beaten the other, and therefore earned the MVP.

I'm not saying that the MVP SHOULDN'T EVER go to the best player on the best team, just that that is an overused idea. sometimes that situation does yield the league's MVP (like this year), and oftentimes it doesn't (05-06 and 06-07).

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