April 12, 2006

Your 2006 NBA MVP is?: A brief analysis of the NBA MVP race.

With the NBA season winding down, I've been mulling over who this years MVP should be (not that my opinion counts for anything). It seems that this years race is wide open, with more "serious" candidates than I can remember. Basketball is (shockingly) a team sport but thanks to David Stern's marketing acumen, every year some troglodyte starts stumping for some stiff like Uwe Blab. Thankfully, here on the SpoFi we usually don't have too many of these psychotic meanderings. Here is a breakdown of the candidates for MVP complete with evidence for and against each.

LeBron James

For: LeBron has already achieved "The Golden Child" status at this point. He's currently 3rd in PPG (31.7), 11th in APG (6.7), 15th in SPG (1.58), 1st in FTA (804), and 2nd in Triple Doubles (6). On top of these personal accolades, he is also leading the Cavs to their first playoff appearance since 1998.

Against: Although a gifted offensive player, LeBron has yet to show the ability to effectively defend at an elite level, much less in high-pressure situations and is turnover prone as his 3.31 TOPG (6th highest) can attest. He benefits from an inside presence (Ilgauskas), a complement of outside shooters (Jones, Marshall, Murray), an adept scorer (Hughes), and a pass-first point (Snow). His team record comes largely from a weak division of sub .500 teams (Milwaukee, Indiana, Chicago), and has been sub .500 on the road (18-20).

Steve Nash

For: Nash is one of the few "true" point guards in the league. He's currently 1st in FT% (.924), and APG (10.5). 17th in FG% (.512), 8th in 3P% (.429), and 2nd in double-doubles (42). He is leading a team full of journey-men/former bench players (House, Bell, T. Thomas, Jones, Diaw) into the playoffs as the #2 seed, all while ranking from 1st to 3rd in all major offensive statistical categories (FGM, FGA, FG%, 3PM, 3PA, 3P%, FT%, AST, PTS).

Against: DEFENSE. Is it Nash that makes the offense go, or is it D'Antoni's system? Long haired hippie, he could be a commie.

Dirk Nowitzki

For: Dirk is a match up nightmare. He is currently 8th in PPG (26.5), 16th in RPG (9.0), 14th in 3P% (.412), #6 in FT% (.898), #11 in FTA (566), and #11 in double-doubles (33). His team has the 3rd best record in the league and is currently seeded 4th in the playoffs.

Against: DEFENSE. He benefits from having good offensive players around him (Terry, Stackhouse, Daniels, Harris, Howard, Van Horn), and was unable to lift his team past San Antonio in the division even though Tim Duncan has had a sub-par season.

Chauncey Billups

For: Chauncey is the lead guard for the Pistons whom currently own the best record in the league (62-15). He ranks 4th in APG (8.7), 5th in 3P% (.436), 5th in FT% (.907), 17th in FTA (508), and 1st in APT (4.07).

Against: Chauncey benefits from a team balanced with scoring, defending, and rebounding by confirmed All-Star caliber talent (Wallaces, Hamilton, Prince).

Kobe Bryant

For: Kobe is a proven winner who is now show-casing his offensive talent. He is currently 1st in PPG (35.1), 17th in FT% (.849), 10th in SPG (1.77), 5th in FTA (777), and had the 2nd highest scoring game in history (81 pts). And he has almost single-handedly dragged the Lakers back in to the playoffs.

Against: Still reviled in most NBA arenas outside of Staples Center. Ranks 9th in TOPG (3.18). Although a deadly scorer, he has not consistently shown the all-around game he has played in prior seasons. Is the most likely candidate to be eliminated in the first round, if not from playoff contention.

Dwayne Wade

For: Wade is one of the most dynamic 2 way players in the league. He ranks 5th in PPG (27.5), 10th in APG (6.8), 7th in SPG (1.92), 2nd in FTA (792), and 3rd in triple-doubles (2). His team is currently seeded 2nd in the playoffs.

Against: Wade is currently 2nd in TOPG (3.52). He benefits from a roster peppered with HOFers (Shaq, Payton, Zo{?}), and former All-Stars (Walker). Yet his teams road record is barely above .500 (21-18).

Elton Brand

For: Brand is currently leading the worst sports franchise of all time to its first playoff berth since 1997. He is 10th in PPG (24.8), 6th in RPG (10.1), 9th in FG% (.524), 5th in BPG (2.57), 14th in FTA (546), and 5th in double-doubles (44).

Against: His team, while playoff bound, sports a below .500 road record (18-20), and is barely above .500 in conference (24-23).


If the league had its way, LeBron would take this bitch in a runaway. Seeing as how its voted on, I could see Nash, Nowitzki, or LeBron walk home with the award. Personally I want Elton Brand to win it, much the same way I wanted KG to win it the year before last, because he worked so damned hard and lost so damn much, a playoff appearance just doesn't seem like enough of a reward to me. But hey I won't say boo if any of these guys take it home, they all have a legitimate claim to the prize.

posted by lilnemo to commentary at 09:49 PM - 0 comments

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