Monday, April 11, 2011

Tech-Tech, Parade!

This game was probably supposed to offer us something better.  It was supposed to spice up the MVP story and make the voters think twice about handing Derrick Rose the trophy.  Dwight Howard could have given voters a personal choice regarding not only what they value in basketball, but what they value in life.  Life, damn it.   

Do they prefer the two-way center who provides an interior presence on both ends of the court?  Do they value the perimeter player who can control the offense with the ball in his hands and make plays to close games out?  Do they look for the best player or the most valuable player?

Image Via
You can forget about me answering those questions or describing which type of player the voters should value more.  Why?  Because much like Jameer Nelson's shot to cap what could have been the most thought-provoking game of the year, the game simply did not matter.  Both Nelson's 3-pointer and the potential of the game brought a lot of initial excitement.  Ultimately, both excitations came to an anticlimactic turn, where they then veered out of control, spun out, and ended safely and boringly on the side of the road, waiting to get picked up by a very cordial tow-truck driver sent by AAA.  No crash or danger- just a long wait in the short time before the regular season is over to give Mr. Rose a well-deserved award.

It's not about Rose deserving or not deserving to win though.  Be reasonable people- of course he is a worthy candidate.  That's enough to give him credit as a winner. 

It's about the little things that can create an MVP winner in a given season.  It's also about how this season, Howard, because of who he is and what he is, didn't get the fairest of shakes.  Rose got what he needed this year.  Today's game was the perfect coronation of Rose becoming MVP.

I remember a few years ago when Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul were getting the major hype as legitimate MVP candidates.  Aside from Kobe never winning one before '08  despite him being a top-tier all-time talent, the major showcase that propelled Bryant past Paul in the race was the Lakers winning an important home game versus Paul's Hornets, with Bryant delivering a too-youthful-for-2008 Kobe-looking reverse two-handed dunk that put the crowd on its feet and the Hornets out of the nest.  Today's game would have been different because Howard's Magic don't really have a chance of catching Chicago in the standings, but wouldn't it have been something if Howard dropped 30 points and 20 rebounds on Chicago's vaunted defense and tough mother F’er brand of basketball and blocked Rose on one of his acrobatic drives into the lane?  We didn't get to see it.  Howard didn't get his chance to showcase what he brings to the table.  He got his 18th technical foul and was forced to sit this one out.  Rose makes all the plays, including the integral close-out on Nelson that preserved the win.  His challenges into the middle of Orlando's defense, like this showcase of MVP candidates today, were won by Rose- everything uncontested.  Howard's campaign stalled. 

It ended because players half his size are allowed to hack him every time down the court, and he hasn't learned that the referees don't know how to- will never know how to- equalize things properly for the smaller players against the bigger players.  Howard has to balance being aggressive with not being aggressive and being aggressive enough and not acting up and not talking to the referees but also being physical and being an enforcer in a new era where enforcers don't exist but "stay physical Dwight!" but don't react and let them hack and it all balances out- or else you get technical foul after technical foul.  Dwight has to make sense of the last, incoherent sentence I wrote.  It comes with being bigger than everybody else.            

The MVP award is a historical document.  Forty years from now, the 2011 MVP award is going to be a primary source for students of NBA history.  Today's game didn't cost Howard the trophy, didn't cost him a piece of history.  But it did negatively affect the people's showcase.  Little things like that affect who wins these awards every year.

Today, this game means that Rose's Bulls won their 60th game on the home court of most likely his closest rival for MVP- a rival who didn't even play in the game as Rose dropped 39 on his (literally) defenseless team.       

In 40 years, this game means nothing.  It could have though.  A true student of the game must keep in mind that it is the little things that lead up to the making-of-history moments.


  1. For me this race was done even if Dwight played and dropped a 30 and 20. I think it resembles Dirk vs Nash in 07 more than Kobe vs Paul. Dirk had it wrapped up by the end.

    I don't think the MVP voters respect Howard as much as RealGM does. Mainly because of the last two votes. He finished 4th last year behind Durant and Kobe after carrying a Nelson, old Vince, post HGH Shard turd sandwich to 59 Ws. Kobe only won 57 with a MUCH better cast in Gasol, Odom, Bynum, Artest and still beat him. He got 4th two years ago too despite the Magic being the new contender on the block and the hot story of the year with the 3 all-stars. Kobe's 65 W season and Wade's 30 7 and 5 were hard to beat, nevertheless he felt like the #2 guy to me that year.

    Dwight's scoring more this year which takes away some of why he wasn't getting huge MVP votes, but it actually wouldn't surprise me if he got 4th for the 3rd straight year behind Kobe and Lebron. Durant and Dirk are in play too.

  2. It'll be interesting to see Lebron's MVP shares on Miami in the future, especially how that affects his all-time ranking.

    Good point about Dwight. I wouldn't think scoring would be such a big factor in voters' tendencies, but you bought up some solid examples.