King James, The Black Mamba, Steel or CP3?
This 2007-08 NBA season has been topsy turvy. The injuries, blockbuster trades, pre-season favorite implosions, the terrible Miami Heat, precocious Portland Trailblazers, Donaghy scandal, Kobe trade alerts and Seattle Super Sonics potential relocation have made this season one of the most dynamic and dramatic in possibly league history.
The Western Conference is insanely competitive where a single loss can cause a team to free fall in playoff seeding. The NBA analysts and geographically challenged have declared the East the “Leastern” Conference. The league is as strong as ever but the East is still the league’s whipping boy when it comes to overall conference strength. Some things never change. The East is not as exciting as the West but the top teams in the East are anything but Leastern. I think a seven game series between the awful Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves should be arranged to settle the matter. Just tell me the results, I rather not be subjected to that horrendous battle. Sorry D-Wade, you’re still my boy.
The biggest debacle will probably be the MVP selection. The problem is what exactly does it mean to be the MVP. Is it the most prolific scorer in the league? Is it the player that has the most impact on the momentum of the game? Is it the player that makes his team better collectively? Does the MVP have to be on a winning team or the most winning team in the NBA? There was a time when leading the league in scoring was good enough to get the nod. Steve Nash has changed the mentality of the voters with his ability to get the most out of teammates. All those things being said, who is the MVP?
Kobe is considered the best player on the planet. He is the most dangerous offensive threat in the league. Heck, it’s hard to score 81 on Playstation. His defense is extremely good in a no hand check era. However, Kobe is not even leading the league in scoring. There’s a guy by the name of Lebron James that has something to say about the scoring title.
How can Lebron be denied the MVP when he almost averages a triple double with 30.6 ppg, 8.1 boards and 7.6 Assists? His injury plagued team is fourth in the East after dealing with contract hold outs and trading half of the team. He is unquestionably the man on his team.
Kobe is playing with a relatively young All-Star caliber player in Pau Gasol whose game was casted into obscurity after the Grizzlies failed to maintain their customary first round playoff exit. Lebron’s number two is Big Z. Should the quality of a player’s teammate even be a factor when their individual game is already ridiculous? Lebron and Kobe aren’t exactly mediocre players that rely on a particular system to be effective.
Chris Paul is the floor general. Anyone who has played organized basketball knows that a competent PG is necessary to win against competitive teams. Every team needs a PG that can protect the ball, penetrate the defense, control the tempo, and distribute the ball to the most effective scorers. Unless you have a Lebron or Kobe, you need a Chris Paul to run your offense. Lebron and Kobe arguably need the ball to be effective. Chris Paul is a PG. A true PG can fit into any system. Chris Paul isn’t merely doing his job. He’s becoming an explosive offensive player, a fierce leader and a thief in the passing lanes that can start the fast break. Chris Paul is the missing link in a lot of offenses that cannot play effective half court basketball.
Dwight Howard is just simply the Beast. He’s called Superman. Nah, he’s more like Steel. His body looks like it was carved out of marble. You remember Steel, right? Shaq was Steel in a horrible low budget superhero flick that is probably used by the CIA to torture terrorists. Howard gets high percentage shots, demands a double team in the paint, and rebounds like the love child of Moses Malone and Charles Barkley. His kryptonites are turnovers and free throw shooting. He would probably be move effective shooting free throws with his eyes closed. Did I mention that only an insane man would attempt to block one of his thunderous dunks that could possibly shatter the metacarpals of a mere mortal? The guy is prone to 20/20 nights and I’m not talking about his eye sight. That sounds like an MVP to me.
Lebron, Howard, Paul, and Kobe would all make good MVPs. They all contribute so much to their individual teams and to the league as a whole. However, we have to choose one guy. I think I would have to go with Lebron. His team doesn’t have the best record but he could arguably be one of the most improved players. A player of his caliber that puts in the work to improve an otherwise dominate game is the definition of an MVP. I gauge an MVP on his impact in the game. Lebron is an impact player. You just wait for him to explode like a bubbling volcano. He is one of the few players in the league that can almost single handedly defeat a team of professional basketball players on a consistent basis. The MVP is the most dangerous player in the league. Right now, Lebron is on the league’s Most Wanted List and Kobe finally has a challenger for the throne of Air Apparent.
Although, if Chris Paul manages to cause some commotion in the playoffs then the voters might wish for a mulligan. There’s always next year CP.