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If I had a vote for MVP… April 18, 2006

So the MVP discussion on this blog is getting interesting. Both Mo and TJ have put together some good arguments for why Steve Nash is the MVP of the NBA this year.

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And he is a good choice, a better one I think than the Black Mamba or Nowitzki or Lebron. But if I had a vote for MVP, it would be: Chauncey Billups.

What?!, you ask?

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Those are the words of a madman, you say?

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Here are the arguments against Billups: He has a great supporting cast.

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His team plays in the Eastern conference. He doesn’t score that much, is shooting a low percentage this year, and is overall not a standout stastically. And while his team would suffer in the win count if he was replaced by an average player (like, um, Carlos Arroyo), the drop-off would probably not be as much as Nash or Kobe’s teams would suffer. Worst, he doesn’t fit Bill Simmon’s criteria for MVP.

Well, ok, there you go. You figured it out for yourself, you say. He’s not the MVP, no way. Oh, but I think he is. Because Billups is the difference between a championship-level team and a team with a good record that loses in the second round of the playoffs. Which is exactly where Nash and Kobe’s teams will be in a few weeks. And to me, there is no more value a single player can add to a team than making them into a championship caliber team Hoppeslott Midi Farm. Remember, Billups was the NBA finals MVP when the Pistons won 2 years ago. And I think he will do it again (and yes, I am predicting the Pistons to take it all this year). That has always been my knock against Nash: a great player that makes mediocre teams overachieve, but he doesn’t have the competitive fire, the killler instinct (whatever you want to call it)– call it the ability to carry his team to victory in a tight, bump-and-grind, 85-80 playoff game. Also, I think the value of great defense is severely undervalued, and Billups is a great defender that can shut down an opposing point guard. Nash, on the other hand, is a defensive sieve that even Mike James could score 36 on (and yes, this did happen. To be fair, Mike James is having a great year– amazing what a contract year can do for somebody’s game).

So there you have it. Who dares dispute it?

Comments

1. TJ - April 18, 2006

It is I, the younger Jheeta, who has come to defend the short white MVP against your malignant accusations.

Anyway, you almost had me there, I agree that that Billups does take the Pistons from 2nd round to championship, but so does Wallace, the other Wallace, and Prince. Do you think the Pistons wouldn’t win with Nash?

And secondly, about the Nash killer instinct, I think you forgot he just went OFF on Dallas last year. He just demolished them, going for 50 either once or twice, I don’t remember…

That being said, Nash didn’t do too hot against Detroit this year with Phoenix losing both games and him not shooting a very good percentage. I’m not sure if I’d want to pick Phoenix over Detroit in the playoffs…even with they had Amare playing the full season. Of course, you’re handing out the Playoff MVP, not the Regular season MVP.

2. Vishal - April 18, 2006

Yes– I think the Pistons would not have won the championship 2 years ago with Nash, would not have gone to game 7 against the Spurs last year, and would not be in serious contention this year. The Pistons would be a team like Dallas the last few years– good regular season record, and yeah, maybe it would happen, maybe they could win it all, but you know they’re just not at that level. They wouldn’t have the ‘it’ factor, the extra gear– and Billups is the guy that does it for the Pistons. The Wallace boys, Prince, Hamilton– great players, great chemistry, but I can think of a replacement for each one.

Nash’s killer instinct will not be proven until he wins in the playoffs and gets his team to the championship. Come to think of it (and maybe this is the topic of another post), but I am going to be so bold as to say Nash will never win an NBA championship. With teams like the Pistons and the Spurs and the emergence of guys like Lebron, Wade and Anthony, where is the room for Nash?

For me, there is no differentiating between playoff MVP and regular season MVP. MVP’s are always on playoff teams. It’s all about the playoffs; it’s all about winning it all, or at least putting your team at that level.

Put it another way: to put a spin on one of Bill Simmon’s criteria, if I were to pick one NBA player in a pickup game that I wanted to win the league championship, I would pick Billups first.

3. Mo - April 19, 2006

I don’t mind a pick of Billups. It actually makes some sense to me.

4. TJ - April 19, 2006

Well, as long as it ain’t Kobe, or anyone else who voted for themselves for that matter, I’m cool with it.