The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Monday, April 18, 2005

Thoroughly Unconvincing

Kevin Hench of Fox Sports Net tries to convince readers that Steve Nash is not worthy of being MVP this season. But watch how he does it:

When the NBA season started and the Phoenix Suns got off to hot start, a lot of very smart basketball people pronounced that Steve Nash was the early-season MVP. I was fine with that. Heck, it even kind of tickled me, the idea that this skinny Canadian with the great stroke and bad hair might be the most valuable player in the league. The Suns kept on winning, except for a little hiccup when Nash was out of the lineup, which further enhanced his standing as the league's most indispensable player. So across the spectrum of the hoop cognoscenti Nash was declared the first-half MVP.
He goes on to argue:

While his arrival has coincided with a spike in the Suns' success, one could argue that Nash is not even the most valuable player on his team. Yes, he's having a great offensive season, averaging 16 points a game on over 50 percent shooting and leading the league with 11.5 assists per game. But is his offensive performance so superior to that of Stoudemire (25.8 ppg, 56 FG%) and Marion (19.7 ppg) that he is more valuable despite his defensive inadequacies?
Hench makes the case that LeBron James, Dirk Nowitski, and Shaquille O'Neal are more deserving because they are 1) having better years or b) just basically better players. We had this debate every year when Jordan was playing. Who deserved the MVP? Karl Malone who led the Jazz to the best record? Charles Barkley who led the Suns to the best record? Or Jordan, the king. There is this strange idea among spoortswriters that the MVP award should go to the player who has the best season, however you define that. Or it should go to the best player. But what every happened to the idea of most valuable?

Hasn't Nash shown his value by making a winner of every team he has been on? During the warm up to the Summer Olympics he made the NBA all stars on US Men's basketball team look like they were standing still or standing in molasses. But most importantly, look who has the best record in the NBA this year. Who is the top seed in the West? And who is the new player on this team from last year? The Suns didn't even make the playoffs last year. They were a lottery team. Clearly, Nash is the reason for this year's turnaround and is the player who is most respsnible for his team's improvement. Shaq is second for what he has done at Miami, but the change is the Suns is so pronounced that not awarding him the MVP would be an injustice.

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