Most Valuable Player
Most Valuable Player is probably the most vaguely defined award of them all. What exactly does most “valuable” mean? Does this mean the best player, the player with the most impact, the best player on the best team, the one who means the most to his team, or the one who has the best story or narrative? It’s all extremely subjective and really, in the years where there is no clear winner, the award is very vulnerable to people’s individual biases.
Thankfully this year’s winners is pretty apparent and is someone whose case is more or less indisputable, as he fits basically every definition of the award one can make up.
LeBron James (38.3 minutes, 26.9 points, 7.3 assists, 8.1 rebounds, 56-40-75%, 31.44 PER):
As recent as a couple months ago this race was looking like one for the ages between LeBron and Durant. And then February happened where James averaged nearly 30 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.8 assists while shooting 64 percent from the field and 43 percent from three and did everything short of ascending to heaven at half court in terms of becoming the apotheosis of basketball. Then March happened where the Heat started to challenge the previously unassailable record of 33 straight wins. By the time April rolled around poor Kevin Durant’s fantastic season was a distant memory.
There is really not much to say about LeBron at this point. He is in the apex of his historic peak and all that’s left is to rack up as many championships and MVPs as he can to cement his legacy. Truly the only things standing in his way in terms of another four MVP awards are injury (which seems like a completely alien concept to a cyborg like LeBron) and the boredom of voters with his monotonous greatness.
It’s a shame LeBron James is a thing or you might’ve had a chance:
Kevin Durant (38.6 minutes, 28.3 points, 4.4 assists, 7.9 rebound, 50-41-91%, 28.03 PER):
I stated above how close the two were a few months ago but it bears repeating how good he’s been this year. He is on pace to win his fourth straight scoring title, doing it on 50-40-90 shooting, and throwing in nearly 8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game for good measure. Add that with his much-improved defense and his team’s top three record and you’ve got an MVP winning season in all the parallel universes that LeBron James doesn’t exist.
Tony Parker (33.2 minutes, 20.9 points, 7.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 53-37-83%, 23.85 PER):
Its becoming tiringly cliché to call anything to do with the Spurs “underrated” but alas it is true more often than not. Per-36 minutes Parker is averaging 22.6 point and 8.3 assists on nearly 53 and 37 percent shooting. With Manu’s severely reduced role as a creator in the offense (one of the sadder developments of this season) the Spurs potent offense almost goes entirely through Parker and the Spurs have the 5th best offense and the second best record in the league. Sounds pretty valuable to me.
Chris Paul (33.4 minutes, 17 points, 9.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 46-33-89%, 26.41 PER):
Deciding between him and Parker is one of those arbitrary hair-splitting things I was referring to in the first slide. The Point God continues to pass judgment on hapless defenders from his divine throne in the form of crossovers, side pick and rolls, countless two-for-one opportunities and lobs. He has Parker beat in assist rate and PER and it’s hard to compare two very different styles but in my humble and ultimately irrelevant opinion Parker’s scoring ability and the Spurs reliance on him has slightly edged out Paul this season.
Thanks for coming:
Dwayne Wade, James Harden, Tim Duncan, Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, and Carmelo Anthony:
Good job, good effort guys.