Ever since Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose was crowned MVP, it seems all anyone has done was question the award. Magic fans continued to question how second place finisher Dwight Howard got overlooked. Heat fans chanted “M-V-P” every time Dwyane Wade and LeBron James touched the ball. Lakers fans are always awed by the offensive brilliance of Kobe Bryant. As the Playoffs have continued, Dirk Nowitzki has put in an argument that maybe he should have been the MVP.
Then you get to the fine print on the award. It is a REGULAR SEASON award, and, despite anything we have seen in the postseason the last two months, Derrick Rose was most certainly the MVP.
That still did not stop everyone from second guessing the vote when LeBron James turned in a masterful performance in the Eastern Conference Finals — 25.8 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, 6.6 assists per game, 44.7 percent field goal shooting — and simply outperformed MVP Derrick Rose. James is certainly the front-runner to win the Finals MVP after one game when considering his playoff performance and what everyone expects to be a stellar Finals.
When the MVP vote occurs is something David Stern said Tuesday in his pre-finals press conference he would be open to discussing.
“It’s an idea that should get some traction,” Stern said. “I have no particular opinion on it one way or the other. And the worst answer I can give you is the truth — it’s always been done this way. That doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it.”
The league has always made its awards regular season awards. It adds some important to the nearly six-month long season that determines where teams are slotted in the postseason. It is no secret that many fans of the elite teams do not take the regular season with the same seriousness as the postseason. And that might be why many fans are hungry to see the media wait before voting on the league’s most valuable player.
It also helps that the postseason is played completely in front of a national audience. For two months, James, Rose and Nowitzki have been able to showcase all of their talents in high-intensity games with storylines surrounding them. It is why Russell Westbrook and Carlos Boozer faced so much criticism for their failures in a two-week span even though the rest of the season they had been simply fantastic.
The Finals MVP likely will remain the de facto postseason MVP award. In all likelihood, if the MVP were awarded after the postseason, we would see the MVP go to the best player on the championship team more often than not.
If we handed out the MVP after this year’s Finals, Dwight Howard, the second place finisher in MVP voting, has no chance to win. He was brilliant this year but simply did not make it far enough in the Playoffs to get that recognition. I re-iterate, how can you forget nearly six months of strong play and put more emphasis on this season-long award on two and a half months?
Ken Berger of CBS Sports suspects Stern’s answer was an answer saying we will put it to the competition committee and then dismiss it just as fast. Nobody awards the MVP award for regular and postseason play.
Even though James and Nowitzki have added to their accomplishments in the 2010-11 season throughout this postseason, it probably should not change how we evaluate or award the MVP.
Photo via DayLife.com.