NBA Core's Official Southwest Division 2008-2009 Team MVPs

Brian Tran-WilliamsContributor IOctober 25, 2009

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San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker:

In my opinion, this was the year that Tony Parker really came into his own and realized his potential as a true SUPER star in this league. Now many of you probably think Tim Duncan was the MVP of the Spurs, and I'd be more than happy to make that case as well because he is a fantastic player, but the fact of the matter is he's getting up there in years and the torch has been passed to Dwight Howard for the title of league's best big man. Parker is known more as a scoring point guard, especially because of his ability to get to the rim, but he's also a proficient passer and able defender, he's a guy who will do whatever his team needs from him to win. With Manu Ginobli out for a good portion of the season, Parker had an opportunity to prove that he was the Spurs' top guard, and he didn't disappoint having a fantastic season, it was largely due to his excellent play that the Spurs were able to win the best division in basketball.

Houston Rockets, Yao Ming:

With Ron Artest coming in the Rockets were expected to have a great season, although they fell short of expectations Yao Ming still had a solid year for himself and is worthy of the title of team MVP, although personally I would have given it to Shane Battier. Yao put up his typical 20 and 10 stats while remaining one of the hardest players in the league to defend (at 7'5'' very few players stand a chance against him), he helped lead Houston to 53 wins and the 5th seed in the west. Once in the playoffs Yao lead Houston to an upset over the favored Portland Trail Blazers, and before getting hurt was instrumental in taking down the heavily favored Lakers in games 1 and 3 of the Western Conference finals. Sadly we'll never know how that series would have ended if Yao didn't get hurt, but that doesn't change the fact that he was the MVP of the Rockets.

Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki:

In his first full season with Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki had another excellent year putting up 27 and 10 while leading Dallas to the 6th seed in the west and an upset over the favored Spurs. Dirk's game remains among the most unique in basketball, not many 7 footers can shoot like he does, in fact not many 6 footers can. The team took a lot of criticism for trading all star Devin Harris for Kidd, Harris evolved into one of the best players in the league while Kidd finally started showing his age. We can only wonder what kind of year Dallas would have had with Harris, maybe Dallas would have taken down Denver in round two and given the Lakers a nice series in the conference finals, but still nobody can blame Dirk for Dallas' short playoff run, he had a solid year and great playoffs.

New Orleans Hornets, Chris Paul:

Chris Paul is the best point guard in basketball. Not universally accepted but I believe it: Chris Paul is the best guard in basketball, including Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade, and the second best player on the planet behind LeBron James. Chris Paul is THAT good, he's the best passer in the league by far, an excellent scorer both in driving to the lane and hitting jumpers, the best defensive point guard in the league and a top rebounding point guard. I dare you, name one flaw in his game. The one I can think of is that bigger point guards (like Deron Williams) can post him up, but that's even a stretch. Chris Paul had an excellent year and if I were building a team from scratch and could have anyone not named LeBron James, I'd take CP3.

Memphis Grizzlies, Rudy Gay:

Let's face it, the Grizzlies suck, they've always sucked and odds are they always will suck. I mean they traded for Zach freaking Randolph this offseason, ZACH FREAKING RANDOLPH. If they wanted a 20-10 big man why wouldn't they have just kept the cheaper, more unique and better team guy in Pau Gasol? This team is going nowhere, it's a shame to watch them waste so much talent. Rudy Gay was one of the few bright spots on this team, he's one of the best up and coming stars in this league. He's a fantastic scorer, he just needs to work on his defense and he can be a legit all star for years to come. Along with OJ Mayo, I fully expect Gay to ditch this WNBA franchise for a real team so that he has a chance to really show off his skills. It's a shame that Rudy Gay's future former team will lose such a great talent, but the league deserves to have him play for a real team.