The Most Valuable Player award usually goes to the best player on the best team in the league. That's how the award has always been described, and it's most likely going to stay that way.
But that should not be the way the award is. A true MVP is a player whose team would be nothing without them.
If you took Kevin Garnett off the Boston Celtics, they would still be a Playoff team. On the other hand, if you took Chris Paul off the New Orleans Hornets, they wouldn't come close to the postseason.
To me, the MVP award should be given to one the top three players in the league in a particular season. To determine which, take each player off his respective team, and ask yourself whose team would be the worst.
Whoever's team is the worst without the player, it's that team's guy who is truly "Most Valuable."
This season, the award is up for grabs among Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. In this article, I will make a case for each player to win the award, and in the end, I will choose my MVP.
Last season's MVP is having another spectacular season. He is the oldest of the three candidates, but in my opinion, he's the best player of the three.
Bryant possesses a killer attitude on the court and has matured from his earlier seasons.
During the 2005-06 season, Bryant took the Los Angeles Lakers to the Playoffs with Smush Parker, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, and Kwame Brown rounding out the starting five. Parker, Walton, and Brown would have all been back-ups on other teams.
As for Odom, he was a bad player when he was the second option.
Kobe went off that year, scoring 81 in a game and 62 in three quarters. That season, Kobe would have been a no-brainer for the award.
This season, though, Odom has been playing great as a third option, Pau Gasol is becoming a solid player in the triangle offense, and the team has many shooters capable of spacing the floor. Without Bryant, the Lakers would be an average team; not in the Playoffs, but a high lottery team.
Sorry, Laker fans, but I do not believe Bryant deserves the award this season.
LeBron James is 24 years old and is already arguably the greatest basketball player in the world. Last season, I thought Kobe was easily better than James, but now it's way closer.
James' defense and jump-shooting have both improved tremendously. He has surprised many critics by becoming one of the most intimidating one-on-one defenders in the league, and though his shooting remains inconsistent from beyond the arc, he can now hit the mid-range jumper regularly.
He still needs to work on his free-throw shooting, considering how much he gets fouled on his attacks on the basket with the game on the line. We've seen him miss clutch foul shots before; with his work ethic, I see him improving soon.
As for James being the MVP, he makes his teammates better, his court vision is amazing, and he can play any position on the floor. He has the speed of a point guard with the strength of a center.
And without LeBron, the Cleveland Cavaliers would be worse than the Lakers. They have a bunch of shooters that space the floor and some nice offensive rebounders., but Mo Williams isn't capable of leading a team, and the Cavs would struggle without LBJ emphasizing defense.
And the Lakers still have Phil Jackson on the sidelines. Mike Brown is no Phil Jackson.
Still, though he may go down as the greatest to ever play the game, James is not going to win MVP in my book this season.
Many forgot about Dwyane Wade last season. He was injured, the Miami Heat were the laughingstock of the Association, and LeBron, Kobe, and Chris Paul were tearing up the league.
This season, it's been a whole different story.
Wade is back at the top of the NBA alongside James and Bryant, and he has been an unbelievable player at times this year. Wade has been one of the "clutchest" players, if not the most clutch player, in the league this year.
His on-ball defense isn't great, but he is the best shot-blocking guard in the league and plays the passing lanes well.
Wade may not be as rawly talented as a LeBron or a Kobe, but he isn't too far behind. He's my MVP for the 2008-09 NBA season.
Without him, the Heat would be at the bottom of the league, just like they were last season. The team has no other player to step up.
Kobe has Pau Gasol and LeBron has Mo Williams. Dwyane has a washed-up, injury-prone Jermaine O'Neal and rookie Michael Beasley.
If the Heat are able to win 46 or mroe games, Dwyane Wade has to be considered the most valuable to his team, which is why I think he is the true MVP.