Who is the MVP?

NEW YORK — My MVP ballot is sitting on my desk, not yet filled in.

I have until 3 p.m. EDT Friday to send it off to Ernst and Young, the accounting firm that has been hired to tabulate the election results (anti-leak strategy?).

As of Thursday afternoon, I am still trying to make up my mind as to who I will vote first, second, third, fourth and fifth.

Somehow I get the feeling that LeBron James is going to be the winner this year. His scoring is up from 26.7 to 27.1. Most impressively, his field goal percentage as risen from .510 to .531. His 3-point percentage is up from .330 to .362. His rebounds have risen from 7.5 to 7.0, and his assists are down from 7.0 to 6.2. Most importantly, he has carried the team on the nights when Dwyane Wade has been sidelined.

But if I am a Miami Heat fan, I can’t help but think I still want the ball in Dwyane Wade’s hands at the end of a close game. Too many gag jobs from LBJ in the final minutes of close games, including the All-Star game. And the stench of his fourth quarters from last year’s NBA finals still lingers.

Does that disqualify him from the top spot on my blank ballot? Or am I being overly critical?

After all, the award is about who has been the most valuable to his team, emphasis on the word “valuable.”

Which brings us to Chris Paul.

No team has increased in value more than the Los Angeles Clippers, both from an aesthetic standpoint and a financial standpoint. Paul has been a rock throughout, and his numbers over the final third of the season have improved markedly as his team won 14 of its final 19 games to keep the pressure on the Lakers in the Pacific Division. He has more steals (39) than turnovers (29) in the month of April.

And then we have Kobe Bryant. Where would the Lakers be without him? Looking up at the Clippers, that’s where. But is he more deserving than James or Paul? I can’t buy that argument.

Kevin Durant? He’s probably going to lead the league in scoring for the third straight season. His team was a beast all season until flatlining in April, finishing 8-7.

Nobody from the Bulls is worthy. All accolades go to their coach.

Nobody from the Spurs stands out individually. What stands out is their depth, their precision and their efficiency. I think they’re winning the title, and I think they’re winning is with relative ease.  But their MVPs are Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford.

Thank to all those who have participated in the discussion forum the past two days on the Most Improved Player award and the Defensive Player of the Year.

So I’ll have this all sorted out by tomorrow afternoon, I’ll send in my ballot and I’ll write a column explaining my picks, and I’ll elaborate even more in our 2 p.m. EDT live chat Friday.

In the meantime, feel free to make your voice heard.

The comments section is open, and you never know: Your voice might be more influential than you ever imagined.

 

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  1. says

    It’s impressive to see the lengths that some people will stretch reality in order to justify not giving the award to LeBron. Start by just entirely excluding his elite status as a defender to get him on a comparable level with KD, then remove the scoring efficiency to get him down to Kobe. Chris Paul is a valid runner-up, and his consideration negates Tony Parker, since to get to Parker you could start with Chris Paul then decrease shooting %’s, scoring efficiency, defence, steals, assists and add in some extra turnovers and a bunch of extra shot attempts. To me its a LBJ-CP3 race, and its just hard to imagine discounting one of the best seasons ever by LeBron. LeBron for MVP.

  2. Shannon says

    Kobe deserves it by far. Lebron doesn’t. Kobe has the highest scoring average and has carried the team almost all year. Of course the same old names like Lebron, but why him??? Kobe has only gotten the award once. I know people say he doesn’t get it because he is the Best In the World so it doesn’t matter, but that’s not fair. Jordan got it 5 times for regular season and some people still call him the best (don’t know why). Lebron has had it twice and he is never going to up there as one of the best. He will never fit into a catagory like that with Magic, Kareem, Bird, Jordan, and Kobe.

    • Arky says

      Kobe has a higher scoring average because he takes a lot more shots. LeBron has a better shooting percentage than either Kobe or Durant. He’s more efficient. And he does this despite spending a lot more energy on defence than either Kobe or Durant.

      Everyone trying not to give MVP to LeBron is grasping at straws. No-one was talking about 4th quarter disappearances after what he did to the Bulls in the conference finals. 2 or 3 bad games in last year’s Finals and a stupid pass at the end of this year’s All-Star Game do not disqualify him from being this year’s MVP. Any game where the 4th quarter is that close is almost certainly that close only because LeBron kept Miami in it to begin with anyway… he’s hit some pretty awesome late shots this year, too (like the one right before the pass to Haslem everyone keeps harping on).

      I also don’t hear people talking about Derrick Rose’s penchant for blowing late free throws in close games. I guess because people like Rose more. James was more clutch than Rose in last year’s playoffs, though.

      Seriously: James is the MVP this year. Deal with it.

  3. Daniel says

    Durant. He’s taken charge in OKC this season, has established his teams culture: standards of work ethic, poise, etc. He deserves it. Take him off OKC and you have a dysfunctional group. Lebron is a beast, great individual numbers, but he doesn’t compare to Durant in terms of the team’s cultural development. In this category it’s between Paul and Durant. Either one is a good choice, but I would argue that Durant’s scoring title and his teams standing in the West are factors that make him this years selection over Paul.

    • Myron says

      Wait. So your saying Lebron hasn’t changed the Heats culture? Kevin Durant is an amazing player but Lebron is really why the Miami Heat are title contenders. You take him off Miami and they’re the Chicago Bulls. No disrespect because I think KD can win multiple MVPs but Lebron is on another level especially on the defensive end.

  4. Myron says

    I think Lebron is MVP this year. He’s carried this Heat team on his back the WHOLE year clutch or not. Lebron is so valuable to this team because he does everything for them. I think everyone should agree that yes, Dwayne Wade is the closer but this team is going as far as LBJ takes them. #MVP

  5. Matthew says

    Chris Paul is to the Clippers what Amare was to the Knicks and Lebron was to the Heat last year. He came in and changed the culture. His presence made them an instant playoff team and possible contender. With Griffin and Jordan still very raw and the injury to Chauncey Billups, CP3 had to be the steady hand leading the team on and off the floor. He’s got to be first.

    1. CP3
    2. Lebron – (Carried the team with Wade missing games. Stats speak for themselves.)
    3. Durant- (Most likely will win the Scoring title and Thunder has 2nd best record in West.)
    4. Parker- (Spurs have the best record and it is due more to Tony than Tim or Manu.)
    5. Kobe- (Crazy numbers given his health and age. However his health and age have cost him too many games down the stretch to win MVP.)

  6. Patti says

    Many nights Lebron carries the team. What about 17 points in the last 5 minutes to pull out a win? What about defending many different positions in the same game? What about PLAYING several different positions in the same game? He does it on both ends of the floor. Deferring to Wade is what made him not-clutch. If you had watched the last ten games, you would have seen how he is certainly more clutch in the fourth quarter.

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