A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

2011 NBA POY Watch 2/21

with 2 comments

My version of the NBA MVP list. Updated weekly.

Note: With the short week, I’ve decided to give this week’s ranking early. With the limited play, this is a week of reflection.

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

It increasingly feels like LeBron‘s going to take this, but up through now there’s not really a strong debate in my mind as to who my #1 is. Dirk’s impact says MVP to me.

2. LeBron James (2)

LeBron’s stock is undeniably going up though. If and when Miami takes the top seed in the East, it’s going to become harder and harder to keep him out of the top spot.

3. Derrick Rose (3)

I remain comfortable with Rose in the 3rd spot. The Bulls are having an incredible season with massive injuries, and no matter how you break it down, Rose is the star.

4. Kevin Durant (4)

Not enough to make any change here. The Thunder have an elite record, and as good as Westbrook has been, Durant’s the clear top dog.

5. Dwight Howard (5)

5 with a bullet. He’s got momentum in mind. If the Magic go on a tear, I could see him moving up to the 3 spot without too much trouble.

6. Dwyane Wade (6)

I suppose Wade’s gotten himself into a safe place where he gets the nod for All-NBA 1st team without being on the actual MVP shortlist. It’s going to be interesting to reflect as years go by on the effect of Wade’s recruitment of LeBron and Bosh on to his team on Wade’s legacy. Hard to imagine it will be a net negative, and yet, had he not done it, fair bet Wade ranks higher in these rankings today.

7. Manu Ginobili (7)

Again, not enough for any changes at the moment, and truth be told, I’m not feeling any huge mental debate about his place here generally.

8. Chris Paul (8)

The Hornets are on another one of their slides and the tide seems to be turning against Paul. It’s one thing to focus on his efficiency and ignore his decreased volume and the weakness of the team’s offensive efficiency when times are good, but when the bad comes I’m left finding it difficult to argue for him as any true MVP candidate.

9. Paul Pierce (10)

Well, now you see that there definitely is a change a-comin’ to the list. There hasn’t been any big shift for Pierce. He remains the star on the Celtics who has played enough to warrant primacy over his teammates on his lift. He rises as someone else falls.

10. Steve Nash (NR)

There it is, I’m taking the plunge. For a little while now, I’ve pondered Nash in relation to this list but in my internal debate I’ve felt others (namely Kobe Bryant) have had strong enough counterarguments that I’ve left him off the list. I mean, Nash’s Suns are still a 10 seed, how can he be an MVP candidate? The more I think about it though, the more I feel lie I just don’t have any kind of counterargument against Nash. I’ve always been a Nash fan, and his box score stats tell us he’s about as good as he’s ever been, and his +/- is sky high. How sky high? The Suns when he’s on the court are better than the Lakers when Kobe’s on the court. Exactly how do you justify ranking Kobe ahead of him? I’m sure others would have competent rebuttals, but I’ve run out at the moment.

Falling Off

Kobe Bryant – From a big picture point of view, the Lakers flirtation with falling to the 4th seed don’t really bother me that much. From a Kobe MVP perspective it bothers me more. The Lakers simply don’t look like a championship contender at his point, and this despite the fact that the club is remarkably resilient when Kobe goes to the bench. For right, I feel like Kobe just has to content himself with knowing that if the Lakers turn it on and when another title with Kobe as the star, no one will care about how he did in the regular season MVP race.

2 Responses

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  1. Can’t wait to see you next rankings, because my goodness what a difference a week makes. LBJ missing game on the line shots + Dwight continuing to dominate + the Lakers winning 4 in a row, including games over the Thunder and at Portland.


    February 28, 2011 at 1:31 am

    • aaaand it’s up. You’ll have to tell me what you think. Guessing you won’t agree that I still don’t have Kobe on my list.

      Matt Johnson

      February 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm

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