Ever wonder why the MVP award seems to boil down to a top-three stats battle every year? Shouldn't the MVP be the player whose value to the team is the highest? Since when has the MVP award converted into the player most valuable to the league?
Here is a brief article for basketball fans and players who know basketball about the true candidates worth mentioning for the MVP award among the NBA teams.
Not to take anything away from the achievements of the usual suspects for the MVP race, but these guys get no love!
Ever so quietly, someone in Oklahoma is averaging nearly 25 points per game on 47% shooting, and has his team playing .500 basketball in the last 10 games. Granted, adding Nenad Kristic has definitely improved the Thunder's chances, but is Paul Allen ruing the day they drafted big Greg Oden over the number two pick that year? When you add that Durant is the face of this burgeoning franchise, it amounts to a pretty valuable player.
No doubt, if Granger's team were higher up in the standings, like top 5 in the East, his name would be mentioned among the top 5 candidates in every syndication. Granger's 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game tell only half the tale, as Granger has emerged as Indiana's go-to guy in key moments of every game. While it is easy to point at the upper echelon teams and say that the player has the team where they are, remember that Kobe Bryant is just 3 seasons removed from missing the playoffs entirely, despite career numbers in that season.
While his team's record with his steadying presence in the lineup is a mediocre 15-14, without Redd the Bucks are a miserable 5-10. His supporting cast is better this year, but make no mistake, Redd the reliable is the reason why Milwaukee is dangerous with the game on the line. If he stays healthy the rest of the year, the Bucks should make the playoffs in the much improved East. Once there, beware the Bucks.
Here's a player who has really turned it on in the last month or so. I mean really. Take a glance at A.I.'s games in the last month. He fills the stat lines everywhere you look: steals, rebounds, assists, points, and all the usual array of electrifying throwdowns in his repertoire. Iggy has finally awoken after a slow start to the year, and so has his team. They are 7-3 in their last 10 and have been steadily improving for the last 20 games. They are now the 7 seed in the East, and all this without Elton Brand. Now that's valuable.
I'm pretty sure a player who has played only 12 games all season cannot be eligible for the MVP voting, but is any player proving how valuable he is through his absence better than the Booze Cruise? 8-4 when Boozer went down with a strained quad that ended up needing surgery, the Jazz are a mere 5 games over .500. If Booze is out for the season, the Jazz could be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
Can somebody stop talking about Dwight Howard long enough to mention that Rashard Lewis is the player that most opens up the game for Dwight's bruising down low? Another product of the great tradition of former Seattle gunslingers, Lewis is on pace to have a shot at Ray Allen's single season marker of 267 for most 3's in a year. Nobody on the Magic spreads the floor like Rashard Lewis, and ever since the 6'10 forward's arrival in Orlando, the Magic have been as dominant as anyone.
The Lakers haven't played with this kind of intensity since the days when Shaq was applying for police work and cutting bad rap albums in Inglewood. If not for the fact that the Lakers never competed at this level while Kobe played with what is, essentially, the same cast of characters until Pau's arrival, then hand this man the MVP based on his sick dime to Trevor Ariza. Check it at: http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=09qeRO6NkVM . Kobe's great, but without Gasol, L.A. goes nowhere.
I recognize that there has been mention of the Hawks in the media lately, I do. And, it's not as though I don't appreciate the fact that Joe Johnson has been mentioned among some of the candidates for the MVP award this season. But still... Johnson's been on this team what, 3,4 years? The rise of the Hawks has directly coincided with the arrival of Mike Bibby on this team last year. They made the playoffs and now they dominate the league. Come on now, say his name. Mike...Bibby...Mike...Bibby.
The Rockets have been surviving on fumes for the last three seasons. Part of the problem in the past has been the inconsistency of Big China's availability in the lineup. His DNP's were racking up faster than China's GNP. This season, Yao has remained pretty healthy for a big man, and Houston has been in contention all year because of this. If Tracy McGrady can get healthy, and if Ron Artest can stay focused, Yao might still impose his will, and put his stamp on the playoffs this year.
No player in the history of the game has been named MVP for his contributions to 2 different teams in the same season. This year, Chauncey Billups is 28-13 as a player with both Detroit and Denver. Both Detroit and Denver are contenders with Billups in the lineup, and Denver in particular looks able to compete with anyone in the league, even with Carmelo Anthony out of the lineup. Billups has established himself in Denver as the focal point of the offense, making players out of Nene and Kenyon Martin once again, while the rambunctious Anthony fills his necessary role. Chauncey's name has been mentioned recently in MVP talks, but no one is giving him any serious chance. Chauncey's numbers, as well as his team's success, support his chances.