Why Dwyane Wade Will Not Win the NBA MVP Award

Mark HauserCorrespondent IIApril 13, 2009

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 15:  (L-R) Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, members of the women's and men's gold medal winning USA Olympic basketball teams, wave to the crowd during half time of the 58th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The first reason that Dwyane Wade won’t win the NBA MVP Award is that he doesn’t deserve it. 

While consideration for the award is very close between Lebron James, Wade, and Kobe Bryant, Lebron deserves the MVP award this year. 

The second reason that D-Wade will not win it is because even IF he does deserve the MVP Award, he won’t win it because of how the 125 sportswriters and sports commentators who have the official vote tend to cast their vote. 

Rightly or wrongly (OK, wrongly in my opinion), the official NBA MVP voters almost always vote for the best player on the team with the best or second best record in the league. 

Starting with the 1988-89 season and through the 2004-05 season, the winner of the MVP Award was on the team with first or second (or tied for second) best record—17 straight years!  Somewhat surprisingly, Steve Nash’s second MVP in 2005-06 broke that streak. 

Last year, Kobe’s Lakers had the best record in the tough Western Conference and the third best record in the league and the year before, Dick Novitzki’s Mavericks had the best record in the league.

Logically, the MVP Award should go to the player who contributes to the most victories to his team, regardless of how good that team’s record is that year.  Now, what are the chances that the player who contributes to the most victories to his team each year just so happens to play for the team with the best record, or the second best record, 17 times in a row?

Almost zero—which means that it is extremely unlikely that the sportswriters are voting for the “true MVP” each year.  They get lazy and say to themselves, “since it is just a guess anyways (which is true), I am going to vote for the player whose team has the best record because the MVP candidate more likely contributed to more of his team victories since his team has a lot of them.”

While there is some truth to the second half of this statement, the total number of victories is obviously misleading, because all of the teams do not have the same amount of talent.  Hence, what they are supposed to be saying to themselves is, “player A’s team won 60 games and player B’s won 50 games, now if I took player A off his team would they win more than 10 games more than team B’s team without player B.”  If the answer is yes, then they should vote for player B; if the answer is no, they should vote for player A. 

I think that most of the voters, because they are dealing with an abstract concept (MVP criteria) that they are uncomfortable with, take the easy way out.  The voters have been voting that way 20 straight years, so why would you expect this year to be any different? 

I believe an MVP can come from a team with a record of around .500, because logically I know that, while unlikely, it is possible.  But, Wade fans, I don’t get a vote, and even if I did, I don’t think that the Cavaliers (unlike the Lakers) are all that talented.  Hence, I don’t think that the Cavaliers without Lebron are 24 games better than the Heat without D-Wade.

I could be wrong since this is all just guess, but at least, unlike most sportswriters, I used the correct standard.  I see Wade and Kobe as a toss-up for MVP voting; however, I cannot see how you can vote for Kobe over Lebron, given how the Lakers clearly have more talent than the Cavaliers. 

As to who is the best player, I like Lebron with his improved defense and leadership this year.  However, unlike some of you silly and bias Lebron/Wade/Kobe fans, I see all of this as very, very close. No one is “way better”, “hands down”, or “way more deserving” than anyone else.  This year has the three strongest MVP candidates in the same year in the NBA since the Magic/Jordan/Bird years of 1986-87 and 1987-88.  The bottom line is that D-Wade just chose the wrong year to have what might turn out to be the best year of his career.

However, as great a year as Wade had, you won’t get a lot of sympathy from a Jordan fan like myself. 

There were three or four times (four or five times total—he lost to Karl Malone despite the Bulls winning 69 games!) when Jordan did not win the MVP Award merely because his Bulls did not have enough victories (40, 47, 55, and 57) and not because he didn’t deserve it (he did).  And unlike Wade, Jordan was clearly the best player in the league at that time for at least four of those five years (in 1987-87 it was not so clear).

Last year I predicted the exact order of the top five MVP candidates in the MVP order, even though I did not agree with the voting (I would have put Lebron second instead of fourth, but I understand the argument for putting him lower).  Here is my prediction this year, and this year I would probably vote the same:  1. Lebron. 2. Kobe 3. D-Wade 4. Dwight Howard 5. Chris Paul.