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First of all, I want to say that in my opinion, Derrick Rose only got the award because he was the best player on the best team and while he is quite influential, he just does not have the same impact as Howard.
In the Magic-Hawks series, Howard played like Superman with double-doubles of at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in all but one game, which was a blowout in Magic's favour. Without him, the Magic would have been swept easily.
Rose may have had good series, but Howard had one excellent series which highlighted his importance to the team and while he did not carry his team to the next round, his efforts just can't be ignored and hence, I am making him MVP.
Whose stock was raised?
Dirk Nowitzki's off-balanced jumper may just be the most difficult shot to defend in the league right now, and it didn't happen by fluke. It is widely known that Dirk practices that particular shot for hours after practices and as a result, he is now the most dangerous shooter in the league. Dirk also gets extra credit for fixing Jason Kidd's shooting motion which allow Kidd to transform into a respectable three-point shooter.
Rose may not be the MVP in my opinion, but he had posted up stats worthy of one. With virtually no offensive weapon around him, he has to force his way through the lane at times just to put up something before the end of the shot clock, and yet most of the time he would either draw a foul or make the shot. How Chicago's fortunes have changed since they drafted Rose in 2008.
Chris Paul was inconsistent once again in the playoffs, but when his jumpers fall, such as in Game 1 and 4 against the Lakers, he is unstoppable. If Rose is the best point guard in the league right now, then Paul is no doubt second.
Whose stock was hurt?
Let's face it, Kobe Bryant, despite that dunk on Emeka Okafor, is not the same player that he was a decade ago. Often taking questionable shots which weren't questionable in the past because he was able to make them on a regular basis, he, along with Phil Jackson, failed to motivate Pau Gasol, which ultimately led to the Lakers' early exit. Moving forward, he has to decide whether he would be better off remaining as the scorer or the facilitator of the team.
Amar'e Stoudemire may have been injured for the last two games of his season, but ultimately, the big question surrounding the Knicks right now is whether Amar'e or Carmelo Anthony is the leader of the team. Miami sorted that issue out midway through the season, and the Knicks will have to do the same before the end of their next season.