Manu Ginobili: The Best Player On the League's Best Team...Deserves MVP

Kevin MillerContributor IJanuary 8, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 15:  Teammates Manu Ginobili #20 and Roger Mason Jr. #8 of the San Antonio Spurs try to stop Ronald 'Flipp' Murray #22 of the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 15, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

I just got through reading an article on regarding some sportswriter's opinion on the best candidates for NBA MVP.  I can't help but wonder about that author's thinking.  I was left wondering if he had some private agenda.

He lists Amare Stoudemire as the current best candidate for MVP.  He also tries to make a case for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sharing the MVP award.  He also argues that MVPs are most easily distinguished by being a great player on a ho-hum team.  And he never once mentions Manu Ginobili's name.

I want to issue a rebuttal to each of his ideas.  First, Stoudemire indeed is the Knicks best player, but the Knicks are still the sixth place team in the Eastern Conference. 

Stoudemire hasn't made them a league powerhouse.  They aren't a legitimate championship contender.  So, while I agree Amare is playing very well, I think MVP requires a little more.

With the highly publicized offseason signing of LeBron James and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat, many fans—in particular Miami heat fans—were already polishing off a spot for the championship trophy. 

And yet the Heat are just second in the Eastern Conference and third in the league in overall record. 

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While this would be considered very good for most teams, it would have to be considered underachieving by a team that many were ready to just hand the trophy before the season started.

Giving LeBron James or Dwyane Wade the MVP would be a mistake at this point.  They need to really be the dominant team that so many were envisioning before they can be considered for MVP awards. 

Maybe that will change before the season is over, but at this point the Heat are just the third-best team.

Choosing a MVP from a less than stellar team is a tough decision to make.  Because isn't the award about which player most helps his team have success?  Is a player the MVP if his team really isn't going anywhere significant? 

Maybe so, but when a star player leads his team to a highly successful season, he has made a much better case for MVP consideration than when he is just the best player on an average team.

Now I come to the main point of my article: Manu Ginobili and the SpursSan Antonio owns the league's best record.  And this is true even with the Heat's signing of James and Bosh. 

It's true even with all the money that has been paid by teams like the Celtics and Lakers to acquire all the talent they can. 

And there's no doubt that Manu Ginobili has become the marquee name on the Spurs roster.  He is San Antonio's "go-to guy."

And it is made the more impressive by the fact that everyone on the floor knows Manu will be taking the big shots, and yet they still can't stop him.

The Spurs are the league's best team and Manu Ginobili is their best player.  Without Manu, the Spurs would definitely not be where they are at this point. 

What's more, Ginobili has proven himself a champion at all levels.  He led his Argentina team to the 2004 Olympic gold medal.  LeBron James and the US team finished with bronze. 

Ginobili won a Euro League championship while playing in Italy, and has, of course, won two championships with the Spurs.

But this year he has really taken over the leadership role with the Spurs.  Many were considering the Spurs to be on the decline.  But in this season, where so many other teams were supposed to dominate, Ginobili has led San Antonio back to the top.

What a shame that it appears many people aren't recognizing what is happening.  One would hope that there isn't some kind of underlying prejudice against foreign players.  That would be a shame in itself.

What it all boils down to is that the big preseason picks like Miami, Boston and LA are all looking up at Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs.  And that should say all that needs to be said. 

Manu Ginobili deserves to top the list of current MVP candidates.  And it will be a black eye on the selection committee if he does not.