A good article on the NBA MVP race..
Who's the NBA MVP? By Bill Simmons of ESPN.com
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:
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