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Sunday, March 18, 2007

All the Credit, None of the Blame?

After Wednesday's classic double overtime win against Dallas, the Phoenix Suns have been blown out 105-83 at home by Detroit and 131-107 by the Denver Nuggets. It seemed that on Thursday morning a consensus was developing to give Steve Nash the MVP after his tremendous play down the stretch against Dallas. He was fantastic, no doubt about it--but if he gets all the credit for Phoenix' win (never mind Amare Stoudemire's 41 points and 10 rebounds) then who gets the blame when the Suns get destroyed in back to back games? The Suns have their complete roster intact, so injuries aren't the culprit. I'm not trying to pick on Steve Nash. I think that he is a wonderful player--but something is fishy if we are supposed to believe that he deserves all of the credit when they win but should receive none of the blame when they lose. If a one minute stretch versus Dallas can "win" or "clinch" an MVP, do two bad games open the race back up for other contenders? No, Nash did not play terribly in either loss (20 points, six assists against Detroit, 15 points and 10 assists versus Denver) but he has been winning MVPs based on the idea that he makes the whole team better and is the main reason that the Suns win. If he plays OK, the Suns are at full strength and they get blown out--twice--then something does not add up. Somehow, I doubt that the lead story on ABC or ESPN's coverage today will be that the Suns' performances have reopened the MVP race that supposedly was closed on Wednesday. All I'm saying is that the standard should be consistent. My position does not change game by game: Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA and should get the MVP if the award is supposed to honor the best player; if the MVP is supposed to go to the best player on the best team, then Dirk Nowitzki should win it this year, barring a complete collapse by the Mavericks. One or two good or bad games by anybody will not change my opinion about that--but those who "awarded" the MVP to Nash on Thursday morning have some explaining to do.

posted by David Friedman @ 4:26 AM



At Sunday, March 18, 2007 6:51:00 AM, Blogger vednam said...

Honestly, it's a joke that Steve Nash may end up winning 3 MVPs in a row. As you've alluded to in many earlier posts, many great (and not that great, but similar to Nash) point guards have come and gone without winning MVPs. For example, Steve Nash couldn't carry Isiah Thomas's jock, but 10-15 years from now someone is going to look in the books and say "Steve Nash won 2 (or 3) MVPs! Isiah can't comapare."

I think they should go back to awarding the MVP based on player votes. During that period, the MVP usually went to the best player (as can be seen by Kareem winning one year while his team had a losing record). Under such conditions, Kobe probably would have won last year.

Nowadays, these ESPN analysts who have too much time on their hands keep complicating the arguement to suit their personal preference. "Look at the Suns' record without Nash", "Look at the Suns' record without Amare", "Nash makes his teammates better", etc.

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 7:51:00 PM, Blogger JF said...

can't give it to best player in bball, b/c individual performances often come at expense of team -- as when a player shoots 30 times, in amassing high ppg

only way to judge team value is by combination of individual stats and the one relevant team stat (wins) and variants (winning % with and without player, including prior to acquiring player)

by this std, Nash is very deserving of first two and maybe a third award

in case you didnt notice, Magic, MJ & Bird are retired. they're the reason Isiah never won one. only an idiot would compare Nash & Isiah based on MVP awards. so you dont get mileage out of knocking down your strawman

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 7:52:00 PM, Blogger JF said...

(my last post was response to vednam)

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 11:23:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Vednam can speak for himself if he has anything to add but I would mention that my point--in other articles and comment threads--about 80s/90s era pgs such as Isiah, Price, KJ, Stockton, etc. is that not only did they not win any MVPs they did not even get close. Karl Malone won two MVPs over MJ. Why was Stockton not a viable MVP candidate? He scored about as well as Nash, had more assists and was much better defensively. The way things are now, Nash will get many MVP votes and Amare will get very few. Something has changed in the way that voters dole out credit for team success. I like Kenny Smith's point that 80s/90s guards were expected to have a certain skill set but that Nash is one of the few--if not the only--point guards who currently has that skill set. Nash is not unique, as some have said; if anything, he is a throwback. I think that if he had played 20 years ago he would not have even sniffed an MVP and that if one of those 80s/90s guards were playing today he would get a lot of MVP votes. Smith agreed with this, but made it clear that he thinks that Nash, Price, Stockton and KJ are all among the top 30 guards of all-time (I didn't include Isiah in my question, focusing on the guards who were at their peak when Smith was at his peak).


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