Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The "P" Stands for Player

LeBron James deserves to be MVP of the NBA Finals. And it’s an absolute travesty.
If you’re saying the award has to go to the best player on the winning team you are adding factors into the voting that don’t exist.
There is a team award. It’s called the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The Warriors won it. Commissioner Adam Silver gave them that trophy. I saw it. Here’s a picture:

The MVP is different. It is an individual award given to the player (the P in MVP) whose contributions were most (M) valuable (V).
And even if there were a natural bias towards a player on the winning team (as there should be) shouldn’t this be the one exception – where one player is so transcendent and the disparity of the teams is so great that even his best efforts can’t overcome it.
He averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists. Yes his shooting percentage was poor, but again a big part of that is htat he had to take all those shots. Who else was gonna do it? You want him to give the ball to JR Smith in a key spot?
Plus, LeBron is only competing for MVP against other players in this series. He is not competing against your memories of Michael Jordan, or what you read about Bill Russell and how they single-handedly carried inferior teams to victory (they didn’t) because they are “winners.”
He was competing against Andre Iguadola who averaged less than half as many points, rebounds and assists. And he was credited for his defense on LeBron. Who still averaged nearly 36 points!!!!

The basic summary is this: if you don’t think LeBron was the MVP of this series you are stuck in a decades-old mindset where we were unable to separate individual performance and contributions from team results.
It is the same thing we fought over nearly three years ago when voters robbed Mike Trout of the MVP Award.
Individual awards should be given based on individual performance.
Having the championship title taken away from him when Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving got hurt was bad enough -- don’t steal the MVP too.

1 comment:

Damino said...

I agree that in this instance LeBron absolutely deserves the MVP. If he had not been on Cleveland, they seriously would have been swept in 4 straight blowout losses. As you said, I think it's natural - and fair - to lean towards naming an MVP from the winning team, but this was a very rare case.

I've been thinking a lot about the ever present Jordan vs. James debate, and I'm starting to come around to the view that James is better to this point in his career. Jordan was unbelievably great, but I think Nike really hammered into the heads of our generation that he was the GOAT, and I think many 30 and 40 somethings are hesitant to think differently. As you alluded to, people tend to underrate how loaded his Bulls' teams were. Pippen, Rodman, Kukoc, Grant, etc. all were great players in their own right, and Pippen in particular I think is massively underrated because of playing in Jordan's shadow. He had leadership issues for sure, but the guy was an incredible defender and did EVERYTHING really well, and Jordan had the luxury of a healthy Pippen for all 6 of his championship runs.

It's a fun and interesting debate and let's see how James' next 5 years go, but I'm no longer firmly in the Jordan as GOAT camp.