LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Amar'e Stoudemire: Why None of Them Are MVP
As the NBA regular season winds down and the playoffs draw nearer, discussions on which player will win this season's Most Valuable Player award begin to heat up.
The landscape of the NBA has changed a great deal over the course of this season, and new candidates have emerged as the favorite to receive the Maurice Podoloff trophy.
Currently, the player that is generating the most chatter around the league is Chicago Bulls Guard Derrick Rose.
Rose is averaging 24.9 points and nearly eight assists a game in only his third season.
He is seventh in the league in scoring and has led the resurgence of the Bulls who are currently holding the first seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Additionally, Rose has proved to be one of the most elusive Guards in NBA history.
No one seems to be able to contain him, and even on an off night, he is still finds a way to come through in the clutch and put up 20 points.
There are a number of other players under consideration for this year's MVP award besides Rose.
At the beginning of the season, Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks was turning heads and chants of "M-V-P" echoed across Madison Square Garden whenever he touched the ball.
Stoudemire is averaging 25.6 points per game, which is good enough for fourth in the NBA. He also grabs 8.4 rebounds and is sixth in the league with nearly two blocks per game.
However, unlike Rose, whose stock is on the rise, Stoudemire's name has lost momentum in MVP talks because of New York's recent struggles.
In addition to Rose and Stoudemire, LeBron James remains an MVP candidate as usual.
James is second in the league in scoring at 26.5 points per game. He also adds 7.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists to his nightly docket.
What is most impressive about James this season is how he has managed to put up incredible numbers despite sharing the spotlight with two other superstars on the Miami Heat in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Now, there are other candidates for this year's MVP award, such as Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Orlando's Dwight Howard, but the three aforementioned candidates are especially noteworthy.
Rose, James, and Stoudemire are noteworthy candidates because they all have one thing in common: They all shouldn't win this year's MVP award.
Stop laughing, I'm being serious.
Each of them has put up impressive numbers and are extremely valuable to their team, but neither one is the MVP of this league.
And in the slides that follow, I shall explain why.
Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose is certainly the most valuable player for the Chicago Bulls team and his recent play most likely means that I will face the most adversity in discrediting him as this season's MVP.
However, despite Rose's outstanding season, he is not the MVP of the entire league.
Without Rose, the Bulls would not be the first seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. This is for sure. However, even without Rose, this Chicago team would still be playoff bound.
You see, Rose has the luxury of playing with one of the best supporting casts in the NBA.
Carlos Boozer was a major pick up for Chicago over the offseason and he has been worth every penny the Bulls spent on him. He is averaging 17.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He is a borderline superstar.
Then we have Luol Deng, who is finally starting to come into his own this season. He is averaging 17.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Deng is an above average defender and is very durable averaging nearly 40 minutes while playing in all of Chicago's 73 games so far this season.
Next we have Joakim Noah. Despite being sidelined for a good portion of the season, Noah has been effective when on the floor. He is coming along slowly after his return, but he is still managing over 12 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Additionally, Noah averages 1.4 blocks a game and is one of the better defenders in the league. Once he is fully healthy, expect his numbers to increase substantially.
Now, none of this is supposed to disprove Rose's abilities on the court. He is an outstanding player, but he is not the MVP of the entire league.
One could argue that although Chicago's offensive production would drop without Rose on the floor, it would not suffer tremendously.
Rose, at Guard, spends most of the time with the ball in his hands, which is part of the reason why he is able to score so many points per game. Without Rose on the floor, Boozer, Deng and Noah would get more looks and pick up the scoring slack.
And with solid players such as Kurt Thomas, Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson on the roster, the Bulls would be more than capable of making a splash in the Eastern Conference without Rose, and they would most certainly be a playoff team.
This is why Rose is not the NBA's Most Valuable Player. While he is of high value to Chicago, he is not indispensable in the sense that the Bulls would be a complete bust without him.
So while Rose is a huge part of the Bulls return to prominence, he is not the MVP of the NBA.
Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks
Amar'e Stoudemire is having a great season for the New York Knicks.
The first half was better than the second half as been, but as his statistics show on the introductory slide, he has proved to be worth the risk for New York thus far.
At the beginning of the season, Stoudemire seemed to be almost a lock to be the MVP of the league. However, as of late, he is barely on any one's radar to receive the reward.
What exactly has dialed down the MVP chatter surrounding Stoudemire?
The Carmelo Anthony trade.
Since Anthony has joined the Knicks, the team has dropped to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff standings and struggled against every team they play.
This is not to say that New York was thriving before Anthony arrived, because they weren't. But the Knicks of the first half of the season were making Stoudemire look a heck of a lot more valuable than the Knicks of the second half.
Before Anthony, Stoudemire was the sole bread earner on the New York roster. Sure, he had solid role players around him like Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, but without Stoudemire, the Knicks were a lottery team.
Now however, Stoudemire shares the spotlight with Anthony, and although he has still managed to put up very impressive numbers, he is no longer a viable candidate for this season's MVP.
What has changed about Stoudemire exactly?
For one, he is no longer the lone superstar shouldering the burden of a team that is fighting to compete with the NBA's elite. He is now on a team that is playing like a lottery team as they fight to stay afloat in the playoff race, and he shares this pressure with another superstar in Anthony.
The ladder just isn't that impressive is it?
New York's overtime victory over Orlando will hopefully be a sign of things to come for Stoudemire and company, but as of right now, the Knicks lackluster performances as of late have pretty much crushed any hope Stoudemire had of winning the MVP.
Many might believe Stoudemire's chances of winning the MVP would have decreased once Anthony joined the team regardless of what the situation would come to be.
However, this is not true.
Stoudemire has put up similar stats since Anthony has arrived, and if the Knicks were still winning and playing competitive basketball with the NBA's elite on a nightly basis, he would still be in the running.
In fact, given the current state of the Knicks, Stoudemire still could have been an MVP candidate had he remained a vocal leader for the organization.
Remember when New York experienced severe struggles early on in the season? Well, Stoudemire called he and his teammates out on their lackluster play. He instilled fire in his teammates and motivated them to perform better.
And they did.
But now, as the Knicks experience similar chemistry issues as they did early on, Stoudemire's voice is nowhere to be found. He is not challenging himself or his teammates to do better. Instead we are reading more about how he and Anthony are saying New York will get it together eventually.
This is not the MVP candidate we saw in the first half.
And oddly enough, it is Stoudemire's current lack of leadership, and not his production that has disqualified him from being considered an MVP candidate.
LeBron James of the Miami Heat
The reigning MVP for the NBA has generated a lot of chatter about repeating.
Unfortunately for LeBron James, he is not this season's MVP.
Last year, he more than deserved the honor, and this season has only further supported that.
The Cavaliers went from being Eastern Conference champion contenders last year, to having the worst record in the NBA this year. LeBron alone brought that franchise to prominence as well as sent it into the dark ages.
And that is the type of power that the MVP has.
The James of 2009-2010 was a quintessential example of a true MVP. He was not only the most valuable player of his team, but simply irreplaceable.
However, James is no longer the heart and soul of the Cleveland organization, rather he is one piece to a very complicated Miami puzzle.
James, just like Derrick Rose, is on a team that would still make the playoffs if he wasn't on it. And just like Amar'e Stoudemire, James has proved that his team can fail with him on the floor, just as much as they can succeed with him on the floor.
Although James never led the Cavaliers to an NBA title, they still succeeded more than they failed. Furthermore, if leading your team to a championship was a prerequisite for receiving the MVP honors, the list would be extremely short.
James may still be the go-to guy for his team, but now he has two superstars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to back him up. And while this should not be held against James, it does disqualify him from being the MVP.
Should both Wade and Bosh have been injured or completely inept on the basketball court for an extended period of time this season, and James carried this Miami team on his back, things would be different.
But they aren't.
James is having another outstanding season, but he does not fit all the credentials of an NBA MVP.
He more than satisfies the statistical requirements, but in terms of his role and being an indispensable leader, he falls short because he has not exhibited such qualities with the Heat as he did with the Cavaliers.
Additionally, it is even debatable that James is the MVP of the Miami Heat. Wade is 25.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Without James, he would definitely step up to pick up the rest of the slack. He is arguably still the face of the Miami franchise even with James on the team.
James has yet to prove his indispensability in Miami the way he proved it in Cleveland.
And that is why he cannot be the recipient of this year's MVP award.
Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant Among Better Qualified to Receive MVP Award
This year's MVP award deserves to go to better qualified candidates such as Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant or Orlando's Dwight Howard.
These two players are truly the backbone of their respective organizations.
Durant leads the league in scoring with 27.7 points per game. He also grabs nearly seven rebounds a game. Additionally, Durant is shooting nearly 36 percent from downtown, making him a major threat from beyond the arc.
The Thunder are atop the Northwest division and hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, and while the team has been playing well together, they would be no where without Durant.
Russell Westbrook adds 22.2 points per game to Durant's numbers, but he could not carry the Thunder the way Durant has. Without Durant, the Thunder would be a borderline lottery team, and most certainly not a playoff team in the highly competitive Western Conference.
And the same goes for Dwight Howard in Orlando. He carries the Magic and while the team currently holds the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, Orlando would be a lottery team without Howard.
Howard is averaging 23.1 points and 14.2 rebounds per game. And the ability he has to draw fouls in the low post can be matched by no one. He is simply unstoppable down low, and his ability to consistently draw fouls puts key opposing players in foul trouble and takes them off the floor.
The MVP award was made for guys like Howard and Durant. These players are truly indispensable to their respective teams. LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Amar'e Stoudemire, while extremely valuable to their organizations, do not share the same indispensability.
So although James, Rose and Stoudemire are all having a terrific seasons, they do not deserve to win the MVP. Statistics are not the lone factor in deciding who wins this honor. There are a number of other things that come into play.
And none is more important than a player's indispensable importance to his team. A true MVP carries his respective team on his back and is the premiere reason why his team stays relevant in the championship race.
This is a prerequisite that James, Rose and Stoudemire do not satisfy.
And it is why neither can win this year's MVP award.