Not Mellow about the MVP

mushi Roar Guru

By mushi, mushi is a Roar Guru

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    NBA Finals players LeBron James and Kevin Duran (AFP)

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    Father Christmas my wish list is simple. No diamond rings or Mercedes Benz. No pining for the Wigfield, George Michael, Mariah Carey or which ever other pop singer decides she wants you for Christmas.

    I just want people that watch the NBA to start valuing defence.

    I know it seems a lot to ask. We’ve had three MVP awards in recent years go to players so that couldn’t guard the back up at their position from scoring 20 and setting the table for their team mates.

    Last year there was a ground swell of support to anoint Kevin Durant, an offensive juggernaut no doubt and decent defensive player, the MVP ahead of LeBron James, one of the top three players at both ends of the court having an “all-time” year as a player.

    Sanity thankfully won out but sadly it looks like we’ve got another fight on our hands this year.

    This year it is Carmelo, yes undoubtedly one of the league’s best scorers. He’s lifted his game and gone from volume scorer to efficient volume scorer. Which puts him in the rarefied class of the Durants and Lebrons.

    Sadly though on the defensive end, the now faint praise he receives is that he’s a break even or passable defender.

    It is the ever endearing argument that the best offensive player on the best team must be in contention. Apparently basketball is not played with five players each that try to stop the other team from scoring. It is the ultimate in confirmation bias: that guy must be good, ’cause I keep seeing him score.

    There are two parts to basketball, your team putting the orange in the hole and stopping the other team from putting the orange in the hole. We need to start valuing both when talking about who are the most important players in the league.

    The Melo for MVP argument also misses the point that LeBron, Durant and Paul are still better offensive players scoring more easily and helping their team mates more than Melo does, even in his best year.

    Yes Melo is the best offensive player on what may be the best regular season team in the NBA.

    However to attribute the success of the Knicks to Melo suggests you don’t follow basketball and appreciate what Woodson has the Knicks doing.

    They move the ball more than in the previous seasons allowing Melo’s supporting cast the opportunity to hit shots at a career high rate. Tyson Chandler is again doing his best to paper over the cracks in their defence.

    Watch the Bulls game where they basically dared the Knicks to run the game through Melo. It put them back into a 2011-12 Knicks mould and stagnated their offence.

    This is not a knock on Melo, who has made enough little adjustments to go from really only being a top 25 player to a top ten, but it is just the stark reality that there is a clear top super elite of three players in the NBA.

    But that does not mean the Knicks can’t win a championship with Melo as their best player.

    It just means that until he gets better at both running an offence and defending he just won’t be a part of the game’s big three.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • December 25th 2012 @ 11:59am
      Swampy said | December 25th 2012 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      Wow mushi, I thought you were a knick homer? Well balanced piece and I concur totally.

      I’ll add that the MVP race is eerily similar to when Jordan was playing. People are clutching at anything to make it at least seem like a race. If we are honest it is anything but. Lebron James is in his absolute prime and has improved this season over last. It should be no discussion at all. Carve the name on the trophy now and let’s avoid any Barkley/Malone shenanigans.

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    • December 27th 2012 @ 11:19am
      mushi said | December 27th 2012 @ 11:19am | ! Report

      I’m actually a Basketball fan first and a Thunder fan second. I like the knicks, as I have to travel to NYC every now and then they are one of the few teams I get to see in person, but i was rooting for LeBron to win the MVP even though I would like to see the thunder win it all.

      • December 27th 2012 @ 1:46pm
        RebelRanger said | December 27th 2012 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

        As a Carmelo fan hoping to visit NY sometime this year and watch the Knicks (and also to Syracuse to watch the Orange), whats the best way to go about this?

        • December 27th 2012 @ 3:28pm
          mushi said | December 27th 2012 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

          I just go on Stub Hub. If you’ve got plenty of time and are willing to make back up plans I’d wait until game night – you tend to get ticket holders that find out that day they can’t make the game and throw the tickets up there cheap (or should I say less expensive).

    • December 28th 2012 @ 1:56pm
      ConorHarvey1888 said | December 28th 2012 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

      Couldn’t agree more.
      While not a fan of the Heat as a team, I am in complete awe of both LeBron and Carmelo’s seasons. Carmelo has taken his game to previously unreached heights, with s substantial improvement on the defensive end, while also improving the Knicks ball movement and becoming less of a ball stopper on offense. However, no one in the league can match the all around level of play that LeBron brings night in and night out.
      I agree with the Jordan comparisons. People are simply searching for any reason, no matter how ridiculous, for LeBron not to be MVP. People have just gotten bored of voting for him. And I worry it may lead to LeBron not winning the number of MVPs he deserves

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