As an award.
As fans, how and when did the MVP [in the grand tradition of other inferior winners, i.e. Windows & VHS] supplant Player of the Year [let’s have a big hand for those lovable losers, POY, Apple [operating system] & Beta] as an award? Why did we settle for the more subjective award? There is already a reward for team wins, they are called playoff seedings. If the wins continue, they morph into an NBA Championship! I can understand why the league and the media prefer MVP to POY–unmeasurable factors are easier to defend. In a way, the MVP award is their way of getting in touch with their feminine side. Because if and when they try and talk numbers to us out here, they really are out of their league for the most part. Online folks didn’t skip math. Mainly because we had nowhere else to go, but still, we were there man!
I just took a quick look at the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year [DPOY] and you can tell the award went to either the blocked shots or steals leader. That’s not ideal, but at least quantifiable. Let someone make the quantitative case of why the leader of a defensive statistical category is not all that impressive. It shouldn’t be that hard. Just drive Hubie Brown over to MIT and threaten that if they don’t come up with an equation to justify his beliefs, they will all be getting a Hubie perm by nightfall. [BTW, why in the world does Wikipedia, in the above link, list the DPOY’s Nationality? Were they trying to highlight Dikembe Mutombo’s visa movements–Congo, USA, Nigeria. Was Eric Holder behind this?]
As a fan of the Miami Heat, this year’s NBA POY award is really no longer in doubt in terms of who deserves it. I admit it was hanging in the balance most of the year, but then the answer swished through the cords at the end of a double-overtime win at the Miami Arena last night. Dwayne Wade is in the middle of a tear as a shooting guard–the Chicago guy aside, MJ not Ben Gordon–which compares favorably to the phenomenal stretch had by Jerry West in the first round of the 1965 NBA playoffs.
Why Wade deserves the POY over Lebron James. First, Wade has the edge in the raw numbers.
- Points – Wade
- Assists – Wade
- FG% – Wade
- Steals – Wade
- Blocks – Wade
- Turnovers – James
- Rebounding – James
- Hollinger Efficiency stats – James
Even though James just edges Wade in Hollinger’s numbers, it is mainly due to a significant advantage in rebounding. So the overall edge in the numbers is still with Wade in my opinion, since James’ position gives him an advantage in that category. But the numbers are not my strongest argument for Wade, given that they are very close. My second point is to concede that if I was starting a franchise I would select James over Wade. Because even if James isn’t a better player this season, he’s obviously just as talented and more importantly, is younger and has proven to be more durable. But the reason that James is the better long-term investment is the same reason I prefer Wade as a player today. Dwayne Wade plays harder. Always has. It’s not something he has to remind himself or get himself up to do.
Value to the team
Cleveland has added key complimentary players this year and is vying for the best record in the NBA. Miami is headed for a 4 or 5 seed in the East with a team that features 2 rookies and a 2nd year player in it’s top 6 rotation, plus a rookie head coach. This after winning only 15 games last season. The MVP will be decided by media people who will make a judgment of the players’ value based on those factors. In a rare act of humility, I’ll pass.
The tipping point in my POY argument is that Dwayne Wade just plays harder than Lebron James. I was going to reference some articles [especially by Bill Simmons] to that effect. But why bother? Would anyone seriously question the sentence; Dwayne Wade plays harder than Lebron James? As an NBA fan, it adds to my enjoyment to believe that someone is giving maximum effort. Given that everyone acknowledges that sports will have to adjust in its marketing during down economic times, the NBA could hardly do better than having it’s next POY/MVP be a player with a reputation for playing hard–the no visible tattoos [mobile gang billboards], being just a throw-in–a player’s likability being the SI calendar of NBA awards.
As a fan of the Miami Heat, I happily concede that James will have a longer career with more impressive statistics than Dwayne Wade. And as a fan, I would not trade Wade for James today. Our guy has comparable talent and consistently plays harder. Gust Avrakotos aside, who could have predicted on draft night 2003, that after six seasons in the NBA, Dwayne Wade might have one MVP and one NBA Championship to zeros for Lebron James.
Anyways, we have not even addressed the prospects of a 2nd round playoff meeting this year. Hey Cleveland, you thought 1997 was a nightmare ….