February 16, 2006

Nash Must Be The MVP: Steve Nash is having a better season than a year ago. If he doesn't win the MVP, something is seriously wrong.

posted by gp_rider to basketball at 03:47 AM - 41 comments

Agreed, he probably shouldn't have won it last year though. Because the suns aren't dominating like they were last year, he won't get near the same amount of attention. More likely to be a trendy choice (i.e. Kobe's 81 or Billups' clutch shooting). Nash just happened to be the trendy choice last year (not a diss on his playing ability because he had a helluva year last year).

posted by kjones00 at 05:38 AM on February 16, 2006

Doesn't the award state MOST VALUABLE PLAYER??? Its a broad interpretation of the line...I can think of 5 players who are the MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS to their teams...citing their records with or without them...and the importance these guys mean to their team. We're all down on Kobe, but he's carrying the Lakers. T-Mac will get ZERO votes probably, but look at Houston's record without him (a VERY painful 0-13). The same probably goes for AI and Lebron. Their teams need them to score 30+ nightly cuz they don't have as great a supporting cast as the stud teams do (Lebron though has the big Z). Honestly, the NBA MVPs usually come from one of (if not) the top team in the conference. However, if you look at that result, then the league MVP this year is gonna be tough to decide (well, now I've told you nothing new)...this aside, look at the top teams...Detroit has Chauncy, but then you could just as well make a case for Rip Hamilton too. Tim Duncan is having a modest year this season (still, I'd take his 'modest' season anytime). Nash? He's great, but what about Shawn Marion? Look at his numbers. He too should have a bigger name in the race for MVP because of his versatility, strong D and playmaking ability. So, who's my choice...I see the last couple of months coming down to a 3 horse race between Dirk Nowitzki, Elton Brand and Nash in what should be a thrilling finish for the league's best player...

posted by chemwizBsquared at 08:00 AM on February 16, 2006

Nash is a pretty good choice although last year it was handed to him. (the mavs did better record wise without him last year, therefore he wasn't really as valuable as everyone thought) I love kobe and lebron but i would have to go with Brand, i mean before the past seasons would start you already knew the clippers were a joke and now no one can look past them or they'll get beat. Back in the day i would give away the clippers tickets that were given to me.

posted by chuy at 08:26 AM on February 16, 2006

Nash gets my vote. He is the one person that gets me all worked up with his clutch performance game after game. I'm a die hard Spurs fan and really get nervious when the Spurs play the Suns.

posted by mustang71 at 08:46 AM on February 16, 2006

Nash? He's great, but what about Shawn Marion? Look at his numbers. Are you kidding me? Shawn Marion's numbers are exactly where Amare Stoudemire's were last year. Do you think he'd be averaging 20 a game without Nash getting the ball to him? Do you think he'd be averaging over 10 rebounds a game without the defence being spread all over the floor, thanks to Nash being able to pass the ball anywhere he wants? Obviously Marion is a good player, but if you plug anybody into that role on the team, Nash would make them most effective. I can think of 5 players who are the MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS to their teams Obviously there are going to be, well, 30 players who are the most valuable to their team—one on each team. But I really agree with Jones that team success has to be taken into account. Sure, Kobe is absolutely carrying the Lakers, but he's only carried them to a .500 record. He's good, but not good enough to matter.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:01 AM on February 16, 2006

My vote would also go with Nash. Just because he basically gets everything started for the Suns. Without him they play a much slower, low scoring game. He is fun to watch.

posted by jmbraun773 at 09:01 AM on February 16, 2006

I'm fine with Nash winning it again this year. He is playing above the high level he set last year. He has even picked it up on the defensive end. And he clearly leads. At this point I have no doubt that Nash could average 25 points a game if he had to. I also would argue that few players are as clutch in the dying minutes of the 4th, when he turns into a vicious scorer. This guy hits game-tying and game-winning shots on a regular basis. I had some Kobe fever not to long ago (cough-81-cough), but I watched a few subsequent Laker games and the reality is that Kobe is a great player - probably the best - but in no way what I think of when I think MVP. He does not make his teammates better, he takes his teammates shots. In triple teams. From 4 feet outside the three point line. And his teammates clearly just do not like the guy. Can't be an MVP if your team wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire. Jordan made them fear and respect him. Kobe makes them want to shit in his shoe. I think Nowitzki suffers to much from the 'soft' label. He is also a terrible defensive player. Worse than Nash and he plays a much more important defensive position. But he is clearly the best player on Dallas - and their record is astonishingly good. Brand is just not going to get it. He is probably the real runner-up - but too many voters will look at the addition of Cassell and Mobley as determining factors in the Clippers rise from the dead. Nope - it's Nash and Kobe in a race. Nash wins. Kobe sulks and torches the Phoenix Suns for 45 a game for the next four years.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:10 AM on February 16, 2006

That article seemed like it was trying to start something. Stats win trophies!

posted by tmart937 at 09:40 AM on February 16, 2006

Unfortunately, there is no clear definition of MVP (in any league)and that leaves the voting open to interpretation. In most cases, the winner will be whoever the media is pumping up at the time of voting. Stats matter but not as much as one might think. Don't misunderstand me, it's not that I think they shouldn't win, but when the media falls in love with someone specific other players get left out (this year's Heisman is a good example, but that another converstion for another time) My interpretation is a great player who's team would lose (miserably) without him. Right now, Lebron fits that. Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio, Detroit.....these teams would still be winning without their MVP candidates (though not as often). Does anyone here think the Cav's would even be a playoff contender without Lebron? Another player that will NOT win league MVP (but probably rookie of the year) is Chris Paul. If anyone has watched this kid play, you know what I'm talking about. For two years, I had to watch him torch Duke in college and now the Hornets have a chance to make the playoffs based, in large part, on his play.

posted by ksb122 at 09:44 AM on February 16, 2006

Yeah, Mark Cuban says he owns Phil Jackson; to bad he doesn't own Steve Nash. My take on the MVP, is that, it goes to the player who brings the most to his team and the makes a positive contribution to the NBA itself. Steve Nash is a great player; but my money goes to Lebron James, or Kobe. The second half of the season should say it all. If it's to be Kobe, then he begin to act like Isaiah Thomas did in the '80's and turn the team around. If it's James, he will continue to preform as he last night. Don't get me wrong, but Steve Nash seems to disappear in games when you need him the most. Who knows, the MVP of the Allstar game, may very well be the MVP of the league.

posted by Crickette at 10:59 AM on February 16, 2006

Lebron's triple-double leads cavs. 'Nuff said.

posted by insomnyuk at 11:10 AM on February 16, 2006

Nash gets alot out of minimal talent I think you'd have a hard time getting many NBA players (particularly those that have played with Nash on the Suns and Mavs) on your side there. And there was some ALLCAPS stuff that I ignored.

posted by gspm at 11:28 AM on February 16, 2006

I'm with insomnyuk in cleveland you have Lebron James and Lebron James......in Phoenix nash has a decent team.......and let the discussion begin!!!

posted by Grrrlacher at 11:42 AM on February 16, 2006

Don't get me wrong, but Steve Nash seems to disappear in games when you need him the most. 2004-05 Playoffs: 40.6 minutes per game, 23.9 PPG, .520 field goal percentage, .919 free throw percentage, and of course the usual 11.3 assists. It's tough to "disappear" when you're directly involved in at least 700 points over 15 games. The 4.6 turnovers a game might be a little worrisome except for the fact that he probably had the ball for eighty percent of his forty minutes on the floor.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:43 AM on February 16, 2006

Nash gets alot out of minimal talent Shawn Marion. Amare Stoudemire. Need I continue?

posted by insomnyuk at 12:18 PM on February 16, 2006

Shawn Marion's 20 PPG didn't do quite as much for the Suns in 2003-04 as they did last year. Or now. And Amare Stoudemire isn't doing too much right now either. Obviously they're both good players, but I think their performances actually argue in favour of Nash's value rather than against it. Or am I missing your point? Maybe you should continue. Where is this "minimal talent" quote coming from, anyway? It's neither in the thread nor in the article.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:26 PM on February 16, 2006

Nash is definitely an MVP candidate because of what he and the Suns are doin' with new people and without Amare Stoudamire. But I do think ya have to give MVP consideration to Chauncey Billups because he's probably the MVP of the Pistons, who by the way, have the league's best record and may just win 70 games(though in my opinion, it is unlikely). As far as Kobe, yes he's one of the league's best players right now, I don't think you can give someone an MVP just because they're a great scorer on a team that's just barely over .500. By the way, how bout Dirk Nowitzki. He's a key player for Dallas, who have the best record in the Western Conference(at least right now anyways).

posted by headgames at 12:37 PM on February 16, 2006

Lebron's triple-double leads cavs Leads them to where. Yeah he's great...but he is no MVP. I will add that I do believe he will win several MVP awards in his career, cause the man is just unbelievable. I'm with insomnyuk in cleveland you have Lebron James and Lebron James......in Phoenix nash has a decent team Z, Gooden, Hughes (i know he just got hurt), Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall, and Eric Snow. To me that is a pretty good supporting cast.

posted by jmbraun773 at 12:39 PM on February 16, 2006

DrJohnEvans: I was quoting gspm, who was quoting, umm... wtf? I dont know where it went, maybe someone edited it out of their post after the fact but not before gspm replied, or maybe it got deleted. I was rather lazily countering the notion that Nash has little to work with. There is talent on both the Suns and Cavs, but it's difficult to compare the two. I'm not sure who has less talent, but playoff success will bear that out, if anything. And to be fair to Amare, he was out for a long time with an injury, sometimes it takes awhile to get the conditioning and rhythm back.

posted by insomnyuk at 01:18 PM on February 16, 2006

Yeah he's great...but he is no MVP. So.... have you been watching basletball for the last two and a half years? try something for me... Google the words 'Lebron James youngest to' and see what you get. I would be all for putting Nash up on that MVP pedestal... if he was scoring more than 20 points a night, or if he could play a lick of defense, or if he could do anything else besides pass really well. Lebron has been the standout guy this year. his 31 points, 7 res and 6.6 assists are giant, this guy misses a double double by literally one re, or one assist every freakin night. Mostly I'm thankful that all of the emos here at SpoFi have gotten over their Kobe fever, And realized that just because a guy scores 81 does not mean you have to hand him the freakin thing. Nash? He's simply not a good enough basketball player; he wasn't last year, and he isn't this year.

posted by everett at 01:49 PM on February 16, 2006

Weird. I wasn't too sure where the quote was coming from, and I guess now we'll never know. I completely agree that Nash has a lot of good players to work with, and yes, Marion and Stoudemire's basic ability to put the ball in the basket certainly bumps up Nash's assists numbers. But I think Nash has to be given credit for giving them those chances to score points. I mean, you're playing D, and Nash is coming down the court at you. You don't know what he's going to do. He can dish the ball out either inside or outside, or hang onto it himself and have a good chance of getting points. If you protect the inside, he passes out and somebody hits a three. If you protect the outside, he can hit somebody on their way to the basket. If you smother his receivers, you have to move quickly to get him when he goes in himself, and—if he doesn't dish out to your guy who's now open—you could always foul him and put a 92.7% free-throw shooter on the line (this admittedly happens very rarely). LeBron James' offence is a little more one-dimensional. Of course he can make plays; he's got decent enough assists numbers. But with his size, strengh, and ability, he's going to be looking to go to the basket. It's a lot easier to plan your D around that. It's tough to stop him, yes, but he's only one guy. When Nash has the ball, you're trying to stop five guys, all the time. The fact that James is averaging over 30 PPG while almost never getting an open look is certainly impressive. But what Nash does is create an open look for someone on his team, almost every time, and I think that's more valuable.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:55 PM on February 16, 2006

What the NBA needs is more pure statistical awards (like equivalents of the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies) so that we could give statistical leaders like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James their due and actually be able to talk about what consitutes an MVP.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:56 PM on February 16, 2006

Most Valuable Player is the player most valuable to his team. The Dallas Mavericks would not be the best team in the Wetern Conference and second best in the league right now if Dirk was not a part of that team. The Mavericks have the best record in the league from December 31st until now and Nowitzki is THE reason. Dirk is my vote for MVP as of right now and hopefully if the Mavericks as a team (Dirk included) keep playing Avery Johnson lock-down defense then be looking for these guys to be in the Finals if not the World Champs come June.

posted by MackBrown24 at 02:08 PM on February 16, 2006

DrJohn... an assist king is a great thing to have, but never an MVP. Assists have rarely if ever been the dominatinig part of a championship team. He is fantastic, but to be a truly great point guard, he has to be able to score more easily, and he has to be able to steal the ball two or three times on defense; point guards light him up on a regular basis, and its because they have no confidence in his defensive abilities.

posted by everett at 03:17 PM on February 16, 2006

Nash has always had great players around him. He scores and so does the guy he is covering. I could run down the court with the studs he has!!! Give it to chauncy since he'll have the ring to show for it.

posted by Big Dookie at 03:30 PM on February 16, 2006

everett, did you read my comment? Exactly where did I say that Nash should be judged on his assists alone? It's what he's known for, sure, but he's also dropping just under 20 a game. His FGP is 47.2% compared to James' 48.4%. I'd say that's scoring easily enough for Phoenix's purposes. Assists have rarely if ever been the dominatinig part of a championship team. You're right. It's always been about big guys going to the basket. That's exactly why defence has trouble with Nash: his play doesn't fit into the current defensive mindset. It's tough to plant and block the lane because he's always got someone on the move even if he's not. Double-teaming him will leave someone wide open, and he'll have a good chance at hitting them. It's tough to argue for or against defence because the NBA's defensive stats aren't wholly indicative of defensive play (there's more to it than blocks and steals—why isn't there a plus/minus stat?) I wish I could see more Suns games so I could be able to agree with Weedy that Nash's defence is getting better. Your analysis of Nash seems to be the stereotypical view of three years ago: he can't shoot, can't play D, can only pass. I think he's proven that quite wrong with his play in Phoenix, and in the process proven that he's more valuable to his team than any big man out there. Look, I'll be the first to admit that basketball isn't my number-one sport, and I may be talking out of my ass. But if I am, please prove me wrong with a real argument. Please check your empty and outdated rhetoric at the door. Thanks!

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:50 PM on February 16, 2006

I think that Chauncey Billups has every right to be mentioned here. He is the one who comes through for the Pistons when they need a big play (hence the nickname "Mr.Big Shot) and he makes the other four players better). However, Chauncey probably won't win the award simply because he is an amazing player on an amazing team. I think talk of MVP should wait until we see who makes the playoffs, if the Lakers or Cavilers don't make it then there is no way James or Bryant should win the award simply because they weren't able to get the team to the playoffs, which is essentially the only thing that matters.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:18 PM on February 16, 2006

The thing I don't get is the fact that Nash has a bunch of studs to work with. Outside of Marion and Stoudemire (once he comes back), before this season, who had really given a flying fuck about most of the other Suns players? Their roster at the beginning of the season was full of unproven and untapped future talent, some role players, and some old horses running in their final races before being put out to stud. Who would've thought that guys like Boris Diaw and James Jones would've had the years they're having? I've loved Raja Bell as a defensive stopper since his Mavericks days, but who knew he could shoot like he's done all year? And who had even heard of Nikoloz Tskitishvili or Pat Burke? Nash and D'Antoni's system have made these guys solid NBA players. They weren't there before. I'm not willing to toss my chip Nash's way for MVP yet, nor will I speculate on who is going to win (I imagine that'll be decided in the final weeks of the season, as it usually is), but sweet merciful crap, give the man his due for elevating the game of the other players on his team. Also, DJE, dig around on 82 games and you can find some +/- (and tangentally related) stats.

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:32 PM on February 16, 2006

Nash is the best non flashy, give everyone a shot guy on the court today. he gets the job done. Kobe carries the lakers. Kobe can only hold L.A. on his shoulders for so long, then he will fade out for the year. Im very, very surprised that phil jackson allows this type of play. I was under the impression that he actually had a say in the game strategy, being head coach and all. Anyway, i say give it to Nash. I wish there were more like him.

posted by jonfu at 04:53 PM on February 16, 2006

Please check your empty and outdated rhetoric at the door. So I will attempt to refrain from the trash talk that is all too common here on SpoFi, but honestly if basketball is admittedly not your sport, maybe you should refrain from discussing it on a national forum. Basketball is my sport, and I'll tell you right now that Steve Nash is not a good defender. Sure, he may be an improving defender, but so is my seven year old nephew, it does not make him good, or show any prowess for defense on his part. Shaq is an improving free throw shooter, still not a good free throw shooter. Now as far as his shooting percentage goes, he's not bad, but he cannot drive the lane as well as many other point guards, and he simply is not as effective a scoring option as countless other players in the game. I'n not sayind he's bad, just not the Most Valuable. you say yourself that you don't watch Suns games... so pease refrain from discussing them, and certainly refrain from insulting others opinions about the subjects which you don't really have any mastery of.

posted by everett at 04:55 PM on February 16, 2006

in any case.... a bit up I was making reference to and quoting from a comment that has been deleted (and had a high proportion of capital letters). I'd interpreted as the poster suggesting that "Nash gets alot out of minimal talent" was akin to "Nash is pretty good for a guy that is not very talented". but now I see I read that wrong. Seems to be that, in the least, Nash improves role players beyond what would be expected of them in a typical situation.

posted by gspm at 05:14 PM on February 16, 2006

everett, if your biggest point against steve nash for mvp is that he's flawed defensively (which he is), you can go right ahead and strike lebron and kobe from the list as well. lebron is an awful defender and kobe hasn't tried on defense in 2+ years. i thought basketball was "your" sport; this should be obvious to you then.

posted by ninjavshippo at 05:23 PM on February 16, 2006

First, I'm sorry, everett, that wasn't aimed directly at you—I was just frustrated with the general level of discourse in this thread. Lots of "[insert player here] is teh greatest!!!" without offering any reason why. Your arguments were certainly substantive; they only seemed to be a little out-of date to me. It wasn't meant as an insult to your posts. Second, this is an international forum. Just sayin'. Thirdly, why on earth would you want me to stop talking about basketball? I didn't say I was one-hundred-percent ignorant about the sport, just that I'm still learning. Read what I say and tell me where I'm wrong, please. I welcome constructive criticism. Fourthly, on to basketball. Yes, Nash doesn't have the inside presence that other players in the game, and certainly he doesn't rack up 75% of his team's points. But he doesn't have to: even if he and Marion and Stoudemire draw the entire defence in, Nash (as Ufez mentioned) is still able to get the ball out to a wide-open Diaw or Jones, who gets the points. Diaw went from 4.8 PPG to 12 this year, bumping his shooting to .495. Jones went from 4.9 to 10.4, and from .396 to .427. Guys who can go inside and get points on their own are valuable. Guys who can not only draw the defence to get their teammates wide open but also then get the ball to those teammates are more valuable. Thanks for the link, Ufez—I'd had no idea!

posted by DrJohnEvans at 05:33 PM on February 16, 2006

this is an international forum. Just sayin'. Heh, I was just about to say the same. And everett, lay off a bit. DJE wasn't addressing you near as much as the evil Homers that have little if fuck all to say. I'll take sincere opinions and queries over what's become the status quo here anytime, and I'd want the same if I were to delve into a thread regarding a sport that I knew little about/was just getting exposed to. Do yourself (and SpoFi) a favor and treat the legit posters well and ignore the fanboy trolls, and I think we'll all be cool. And no prob, DJE...I actually found that site via SpoFi a few years back by another stat junky (one of the few reasons I even stay around here any longer).

posted by Ufez Jones at 06:30 PM on February 16, 2006

he should be mvp if his team makes it to the playoffs or finals

posted by defrag3x at 06:36 PM on February 16, 2006

He deserves it more this year than he did when he won it , but there's still people out there just as if not MORE deserving . Most valuable to the league ? The Pistons have the longest consecutive sellout record in history and sell the most merchandise . If it's $$$ then its One of the Pistons . To his team ? A lot of players fit that bill . Kobe for one , Iverson , and a few others . How do yo vote ? Phoenix WONT be in the Finals so do you base it on that ? Its a media award and the media gave it to whom they wanted to last year and will do the same again .

posted by alvinthefirst at 06:47 PM on February 16, 2006

the MVP is a regular season award and is awarded before the Finals so any performance getting there won't have any influence on the vote. Dunno when the voting is done but the award is announced in May, during the first round of the playoffs or so? So even getting a team to the playoffs might be confirmed at some time after the vote is done (I dunno, just that the Finals certainly doesn't come into play for this).

posted by gspm at 10:24 PM on February 16, 2006

everett - it appears, when it comes to Nashy-boy's reputation and ability, it's you versus the universe. No one else seems to have any difficulty seeing his skills and positive impact on every team mate he plays with - from Joe Johnson to Boris Diaw. He is absolutely the guy who runs the show and unquestionably the best point guard in the game. He also may be the smartest player out there. He sees the mismatches, the opportunities, the tired players, the weak-willed ones, the holes in the defence, etc. etc. He elevates the game from sheer athleticism to cerebral chess match. It's not all statistical (because his stats are dwarfed by the Lebron's, Kobe's and even Marbury's of the world (but you wouldn't in a million years think of Marbury as an MVP. Did you know he is one of two PGs in NBA history to average 20 PPG and 8 APG in his career? conclusion: sometimes stats are shit). I think you need to give him his due. That said, I do think the good people at NBC and ESPN could stop felating him as if he were Brett Favre. They all love the little white kid from Canada. And Lebron barely plays a lick of defense. It's actually a shame. I have high hopes for that kid.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:26 AM on February 17, 2006

He sees the mismatches, the opportunities, the tired players, the weak-willed ones, the holes in the defence, etc. etc. Off-topic, but he'd be one hell of a handler if he played Ultimate.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 08:50 AM on February 17, 2006

and he simply is not as effective a scoring option as countless other players in the game. Wrong. If you consider the fact that assists are the act of setting up the scoring of two or three points then your statement is not valid. Nash has 19 points per game and 11 assists per game. That would mean that he accounts for at least 41 points a game. Kobe Bryant is averaging 35 points and 4.4 assists. That means he accounts for at least 43 points a game, only two more than Nash. So, in terms of total scoring, Nash is on par with many of the top players in the game.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:17 PM on February 17, 2006

More specifically: 40.0 < Nash < 53.0 43.8 < Kobe < 48.2 So Nash's assists could even put him over the top.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 04:30 PM on February 17, 2006

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