Well, the Tigers are frustrating the hell out of me today. In case you've missed todays game it's gone something like this so far. Zito walks a guy on 4 pitches, next guy comes up and grounds into a double play, Zito hits the next batter, and then ends the inning on a check swing strike out on an 88 MPH fastball around the eyes, repeat for seven innings. Christ. Anyways, as you can see by the title of this post, I'm not going to write about the Tigers but rather about the NBA MVP race. The NBA regular season ended last night but the debate over the MVP is still wide open. My criteria for MVP is quite simple, all that I look for is if the player put up good numbers on a good or great team that had expectations of greatness coming into the season. So here's my list of candidates in reverse order.
8: Elton Brand: I've always admired the Clippers from afar. Seeing as how I've been a fan of the Lions and Tigers for all of my life, I look for other franchises and fanbases that are equally pathetic and with whom I can relate, and pretty much the only team that can rival, no, exceed the ineptitude of the Lions is the Clippers. This year they made an excellent trade for Sam Cassell, signed Cuttino Mobley to fill some of the scoring void and they became a sleeper 8th playoff seed in the West. Well now they 6th in the West after a strategic tank job, with home court in the 1st round and a real chance to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since they were the Buffalo Braves. The main reason for this is Elton Brand who went from a solid, slightly underrated player to an elite post player who gave the Pistons and everyone else fits all season. That Tyson Chandler for Brand trade is looking more ridiculous every season.
7: Shawn Marion: Steve Nash gets most of the credit for the Suns success the past two seasons and deservedly. However, I think Marion has been just as important AND he's an unstoppable fantasy player, whose never on my team, which explains why I finish 9th out of 10 in my most recent fantasy basketball league, well that and a series of bad trades that I made........oh well, I wish Marion could get a little more recognition especially this year where he stepped up his game even more in the absence of Amare.
6: Kobe Bryant: Ive heard so much made of his 81 point game and 62 points through three quarters from people advocating his MVP candidacy, but the last time I checked the MVP award was for the best performance over the entire season and not for the best single game performance during the season. Granted Kobe did take a terrible supporting cast and single handedly delivered them to the playoffs, which is a spectacular feat but do the Lakers seriously have a chance to win the title? No. Do they even have a chance to get out of the first round? No. So therefore I don't think he deserves the MVP. Plus I just dont like him.
5: Dwyane Wade: He's a spectacular player, but he was a little too quiet down the stretch for me and the Heat scuffled and barely held off the Nets for the 2nd seed in the East. Plus he plays for Miami and being a Pistons fan I have to hate him......and I wish he was in a Pistons jersey, but at least we have Darko, oh wait I mean Kelvin Cato.......Jesus Christ. Note: I'm distracted right now because the Tigers are clawing their way back into this game, and Brandon Inge is in the midst of a 75 pitch at bat against Justin Douche-r. (I know it's a lame joke and everyone thinks that when they hear that guys name, but it's absolute hell trying to spell it correctly.)
4: LeBron James: Once again this is no knock on LeBron or Wade, I think they will be competing for the MVP award for the next decade, but I don't think they are at that level yet. Close but not yet. He made great strides in taking over games late and getting his team to the playoffs for the first time. Also I think people make to much about playing great late in games, especially during the regular season. I'm more impressed with teams like Detroit who are beating teams like the Hornets so badly at the end of games that their starters are relegated to towel waving duty, as Jason Maxiell wildly tries to throw it down on everybody, instead of guys like LeBron that need a big shot to put away an inferior team. Regardless he's only 21 which is frightening to a Pistons fan like me (please sign with a team out West LeBron, Cleveland hates you. Leave the Central...........I know he doesnt read this......you know how I know? Because no one reads this.)
3: Steve Nash: Personally I think Steve Nash is the most entertaining player in the NBA, and is the perfect guy to run the Phoenix offense. He seamlessly integrates new players into the system and increased his scoring output in the absence of Amare. So if he's better this year then he was last year and he's the reigning MVP why doesnt he win again? Well, I wish I had a good answer for that but I don't, and this is my blog and my awards so shut up and stop asking so many questions. O.K. I'm not paying you to talk, as a matter of fact I'm not paying you at all, Do I come to your job and knock the broom out of your hand. Didn't think so.
2: Dirk Nowitzki: Oh my god Fernando Rodney is giving me a heart attack right now. The Tigers went up 4-3 in the top of the ninth after grinding out 3 runs and now Fernando's pitching so bad that even Rick Ankiel thinks he looks a little wild. Anyways Dirk has played his best this season, and.......oh my god the bases are loaded, if they lose this game I swear to god........this is the first time it's really been Dirk's team and he's stepped up.....ground ball, get the force at home!!! Good Job, Inge. Anyways I expect the Mavericks to.....STRIKE OUT!!!! YES! (series of fist pumps followed by a sprint to the bedroom and back) Way to go Rodney, oh man that was a big win for the Tigers.....what was I talking about again......nevermind moving on to No.1.
1: Chauncey Billups: Everyone had to have seen this coming, and go ahead and call me a homer, because I am, but the reason Chauncey is the MVP this season is because, as he said on the Hot List on SportsCenter last night, he's the catalyst for the best team in the league. Catalyst is the perfect title for him. A lot of people discredit Chauncey because of the overall talent and teamwork the Pistons utilize on their way to the best record in the league. I think this works in his favor more than anything, because it takes a special player to keep a team so talented running this smoothly over the course of an entire season. Billups was flawless in running a new offense as exhibited by his increased assists total, and more telling was his impeccable assist/turnover ratio. Also I think every Piston brings their own unique thing to the Pistons, Ben exemplifies toughness/hard work, Rasheed brings the craziness factor, Hamilton provides the energy, Dale Davis has his fouls, but Chauncey is the most responsible for the Piston's confidence and swagger, which I think is the most important part of this teams character. Chauncey makes the big shots, he never gets nervous or rushes when they fall behind early and when they win he doesn't celebrate much because he expects to win every game. It takes a lot of confidence to state before the season that you plan on finishing with the best record in the league so you can play game seven of the Finals at home and then actually go out and do it........with relative ease no less, while adjusting to a new coach and winning 10 more games then the previous year, when you were already an NBA Finals team. However we all no Chauncey won't win the MVP and will struggle to crack the top 5, because sportwriters are infatuated with Kobe and will select him because it takes no effort or thought to pick him. Oh well, I'm sure Chauncey will be more satisfied in June when he wins his second Finals MVP, and leads the Pistons to a second title in 3 years.