How do you properly qualify the Most Valuable Player? Metrics, statistics and highlight reels aside, I prefer to use phrases to qualify the NBA MVP race and the one. We all know what these phrases are, and before you nerds crack out our spreadsheets to show me some stats that I could care less about, consider that there’s only a few real ways to measure the quality of an MVP candidate.
“The Best Player on the Best Team”
Usually we make the case that “the best player on the best team” deserves the MVP. Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are your past four NBA MVP, and all three either led the league in terms of wins or had the best record in their conference, which was the case for Bryant in 2007-08.
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With Boston and San Antonio leading the charge out east and in the west, nobody on their rosters is making a serious pledge for the NBA MVP award this year. And why would they? The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls could very well finish with the best records in the league, but right now it’s almost a bit strange that nobody on Boston or San Antonio is even getting mentioned. Almost.
“Who’s Doing Less With More?”
The phrase I’d attach to Rose is the “player doing more with less”. It’s one thing for the Chicago Bulls to go on a rampage with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer finally healthy, but let’s keep in mind that Chicago has built a record of 44-18 SU and 38-22-2 ATS without the two of them on the floor for the most part.
Rose may not be a proven leader, but his ability on the court has been transcendent. He’s made everyone on the court better. He’s made his team a championship contender. On top of it all, in a league with so many talented point guards, Rose has somehow earned separation from the pack.
“If You Took Player X Off The Team, They’d Suck”
By far this is the worst phrase attached to the NBA MVP debate, but it’s also the one people use the most. For once, however, we have a way of actually measuring LeBron James’ impact on a team. They’re called the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers. The bottom feeding suckfest in the basement of the league is LeBron’s former team that stands with a record of 12-50 SU and are on pace to have the complete inverse of their 61-21 SU record that led the league last year. With all due respect to Mo Williams, who was traded for Baron Davis at the deadline, the team is pretty much the same save one glaring difference maker – LeBron James.
“You’re Not Talking About This Guy Enough!!!”
My least favorite of the handful of phrases you might use to describe the rightful winner of the NBA MVP. The front runner for this argument is none other than Dwight Howard, who is putting up ungodly numbers this year yet again and putting his team in playoff position this season.
Still, despite Howard’s inhuman efforts, I still don’t see his stamp on this team. I can see how the Heat and Bulls respond to Lebron and Rose. I don’t see how the Magic are “Howard’s Team”. They don’t seem to vibe with his personality, and they certainly don’t come through in the clutch when they’re supposed to.
That’s ultimately how you qualify the MVP. The guy who should be receiving your backing in the NBA MVP odds is the player who best exemplifies his team and carries them on the scoreboard while making everyone on the floor much better than they’re supposed to be. It’s evident with Rose. It’s almost pain stakingly obvious with LeBron.
There are only two horses in the race for the NBA MVP and that’s Derrick Rose and LeBron James. Anyone who want to make an argument for Howard, Durant, Bryant or any other player is simply ignoring the truth. All those players are great, but they aren’t the most valuable player in the league this year, so bet intelligently when you attack the NBA MVP odds and put your money behind Rose or LeBron.
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